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Too many confusing apps? Prioritize programs with Should I Remove It?

Cleaning out and optimizing a PC can be less time consuming than reformatting. Should I Remove It? can make this troublesome chore a little easier by helping you know what you should keep and what you should remove.

Browsing and installing all of the free software we offer at Download.com can potentially bog down your computer over time. It can be hard to resist installing something just because it is new, looks useful, or simply, is free. It is a good idea to do a house cleanup and getting rid of junk that you don't need once in a while to improve the performance of your computer. But how do you know what to remove?

It can be easy to forget which program does what and why you have it installed, making PC cleanup a nightmare. Fret no more as Should I Remove It?, the new kid on the uninstallers block, will help you identify what is worthwhile to keep and what needs to be trashed.

(Credit: Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

How does it work?
Simply install Should I Remove It? and the software will scan your computer and show a list of installed programs. What you see immediately is the ratings of each program, the higher the better. You can also view the Removal Percentage which is based on how many users chose the removal option. The higher the number, the more people chose not to keep it on their computer.

(Credit: Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

Clicking on a particular entry will display the options "Uninstall" and "What is it?" Uninstall is self-explanatory. The "What is it?" button will open your browser to a detailed page by Reason Software (the developer) describing the program in question. Should I Remove It? lists everything from:

  • Popularity (how many people kept/removed)
  • Developer's site
  • Standard install folder
  • Language
  • Files path
  • Miscellaneous files
  • Behaviors exhibited (such as browser add-on or plug-in)

To even more comprehensive information for particular popular software such as:

  • Compatibility
  • Installation demographic
  • System Utilization
(Credit: Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

Reason Software's database is pretty extensive (more than 400,000 programs, and rising, rated) thanks to its anonymous opt-in service called Boost Connect. The community was built through another one of its in-house programs, Boost, that specializes in optimizing PC performance. Reason also provides a list of top-ranking applications people choose to keep. Unsurprisingly, Boost is in the top 10.

All the background data provided will help you make a better informed decision on whether to keep or get rid of unknown software.

    Pros:
  • Large database of software, with new programs being added constantly every 24 to 48 hours
  • Community ranking helps determine the quality of applications
  • Simple and intuitive interface.
  • Free

    Cons:
  • It won't detect every program. Should I Remove It? did not detect our free version of Adobe CS2 nor Malwarebyte Anti-malware, even though those are some popular titles. Window Manager showed 90 installed applications to the 67 shown by Should I Remove It?
  • Uninstallation is not as thorough as other uninstallers. There is no Registry cleanup or other housekeeping sweep (shortcut, extra files etc.) after removal.
  • Ranking can be misleading. As this is a new service that aims toward average consumers, more technical/obscure software can get lower rankings, making it seem untrustworthy.

Conclusion
Should I Remove It? is a must-have tool for anyone looking to tidy up his machine. It works very well for people who have just bought new computers, as it will assist in removing factory-installed bloatware saving time from a format and OS reinstallation. It can also be useful removing toolbars and other malware you may not be aware of. To be thorough, however, we still recommend using dedicated uninstallers and anti-malware protection such as Revo, CCLeaner, and MBAM in conjunction with Should I Remove It? Overall, it should make your PC maintenance a little easier.

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