Tech guide: A better way to remove programs

Want to uninstall an app? You can always use Windows' Add/Remove Programs utility.
Written by Jason Parker, Contributor
Want to uninstall an app? You can always use Windows' Add/Remove Programs utility. But it doesn't always do the job completely. Here are three downloads that will.
If you've ever poked around on your hard drive or in your registry, you know that removing programs -- really removing them -- isn't as easy as it seems. The Add/Remove utility for Windows works in some cases but tends to miss a lot. That leaves you with a ton of unused and unaccounted-for files and a bunch of registry keys whose strange names have nothing to do with the program you're trying to delete.

Addressing this problem, some savvy developers designed uninstall programs that take care of the guesswork for you. These apps attempt to find all the files that are associated with the unwanted programs so that you can get them off your hard drive once and for all.

It's important to note that while these programs do a great job of rooting out rogue files, my experience is that you still want to check all files thoroughly before deleting them -- the best defense against getting rid of something you might need is checking it over carefully. With that, here are my three favourite uninstallers.

Advanced Uninstaller Pro 2004 gives you a Windows Explorer-like interface, making it easy to find the programs you want to uninstall. It offers several different wizards within the program for cleaning out your Internet history, cookies, and more. (Shareware/Windows)

Your Uninstaller 2004 Pro shows you all of your programs' icons in a huge scrollable window that's easy to navigate. If you want more information about a program before you uninstall it, just click its icon. (Shareware/Windows)

Trash It makes it easy to uninstall programs, erase duplicate files, and create a schedule for getting rid of unneeded files. It can also help you root out space-eating temp files. (Shareware/Windows)

What do you think? How do you uninstall programs? Know any good uninstallers? TalkBack to me below!

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