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Author Topic: Uninstallers - do any of them work?  (Read 4870 times)

MrCrispy

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Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« on: April 24, 2008, 04:22:02 PM »
Let me start my rant by saying I believe there should be no need for utilities like defraggers, tweakers, registry cleaners, uninstallers etc. These are all functions the OS should perform. And in fact DOES perform quite well ! I don't see a gazillion shareware utilities that advertise miracle cures  for OSX, and I think the main reason is 1) Windows apps are not well written or well behaved compared to carefully craftes OSX and Linux apps, and 2) the OS itself doesn't do housecleaning very well, although its a lot better than most suspect.

Ok, back to uninstallers. As far as I'm concerned, the only true test if it will let me install and use a trial version after it expires. Remove every last registry key and hidden data and get my system back. AFAIK no on does this. A number of them do registry monitoring and will figure out whats changed, but do they really work?

I shouldn't have to use the Norton removal tool, I don't want special utilities to remove leftover junk. I want one (ring) to rule them all !!

Deozaan

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2008, 12:40:03 AM »
Yep. I was just in my Application Data folder today and I found all sorts of left over files from programs long ago uninstalled. Who knows what the registry looks like!


kreatorr

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 04:59:30 AM »
I just discovered an application sandbox program called Sandboxie http://www.sandboxie.com/.  It allows you to run programs in a virtual sandbox but without the full overhead of running a PC virtualization environment like VMware.  While the program runs, it'll still be able to read from your files if you set it to, but it will not be able to write or modify any files as well as the registry (it will think it has, but it really hasn't).

In your quest to keep your system clean though, I'm not sure if Sandboxie itself leaves any traces on your PC since it is nagware and crippleware...  ;)

Lashiec

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2008, 07:38:52 AM »
There are not as many "optimizers" for OS X for various reasons: first, there's no registry, second, being a smaller market, there's much less crappy software, otherwise it could not survive. But there are uninstallers, that's for sure, config files are often left behind when uninstalling.

Going back to your question, both Total Uninstall and Regshot are able to do that, although with Regshot you have to do the removal by hand. And yes, after uninstalling a trial version and installing it again, you get more time to test the program, I tested this personally. Be aware that some software write data to certain system files for their trial systems, and the uninstallers can't remove this data, but they can tell you which files were modified, so you can remove the data later with your favourite text editor.

The best option is to use something like Sandboxie, as kreatorr notes above, or any VM, like VirtualBox or Virtual PC.

BTW, the task of uninstalling an application correctly does not belong to Windows, but to the guy writing the uninstaller of the application you're using. Most software do not leave junk behind, as long as they don't write too much data to the registry or scatter files around the file system. The bigger an app, the greater the possibility of bad uninstallers.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 08:32:55 AM by Lashiec »

tomos

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 12:04:48 PM »
I just discovered an application sandbox program called Sandboxie http://www.sandboxie.com/.  It allows you to run programs in a virtual sandbox but without the full overhead of running a PC virtualization environment like VMware.  While the program runs, it'll still be able to read from your files if you set it to, but it will not be able to write or modify any files as well as the registry (it will think it has, but it really hasn't).

Giveaway of the Day - Returnil Virtual System Premium Edition
http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/
sounds very good

http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=13170.0
a search (returnil) show up a lot from mid last year about it
Tom
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 12:07:16 PM by tomos »

Dirhael

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2008, 12:18:41 PM »
Heh, I will just say any developer that makes an uninstaller that cleans out *anything* from AppData without asking (or having a checkbox to do so marked by default) should be shot on sight. The rest of the argument I agree with, but personal data should never be cleared automatically.

To argue my POV I'm taking WinAMP as an example. When I was still using it from time to time I liked to check out different plugins, and a selected few of these plugins could mess up my WinAMP installation. No problem right? Just uninstall WinAMP and make sure that the program folder was cleared, then reinstall would surely get me right back up and running again. Not really because what now happens is that the WA developers in their infinite wisdom has decided that uninstalling also means that they should delete my music database from AppData, including MusicIP/Gracenote generated information for all my mp3's (and this means for the thousands of files that it took hours to generate said information for). Good idea? I think not...
Registered nurse by day, hobby programmer by night.

nosh

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2008, 01:32:33 PM »
A "perfect" uninstaller integrated into the OS would only encourage crippleware. I don't think the OS should assume that all software is good at cleaning itself up. It could atleast take care of the base install folder & registry entries created on install. The sw could generate the trial expiry date on first run.

There are not as many "optimizers" for OS X for various reasons: first, there's no registry,

How does shareware enforce itself then? Via system files? Just curious.

Quote
Be aware that some software write data to certain system files for their trial systems, and the uninstallers can't remove this data, but they can tell you which files were modified, so you can remove the data later with your favourite text editor.

One of the more unusual protection schemes I've seen was a DOS chess program that modified just the dates of some system files after it expired. An older version of Rebel Decade, IIRC.

cathodera

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Re: Uninstallers - do any of them work?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2008, 05:19:33 AM »

I have not had any problems with Revo Uninstaller http://www.revouninstaller.com/

It is freeware and it uses the program's uninstaller first, and then after that, if you want it to, it will go look everywhere and see what is left, and show it to you and ask if you want to remove it.
One man's conspiracy is another man's business plan