Uninstall like a pro with Revo | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com

Uninstall like a pro with Revo

Change the way you get rid of unwanted programs with the freeware Revo Uninstaller.

When you uninstall a program, there's a high likelihood that it's left you a little present behind, often in your Windows registry. Like an unclaimed sweater the day after a house party, rarely does this "gift" have much effect. When you've got 700 gifts sitting in your closet, though, you might wish you had room for more important things. Enter: Revo Uninstaller.

Where the built-in Windows Add or Remove Programs option in the Control Panel fails, freeware Revo picks up the slack. It builds out a useful feature set on top of a fairly light, 1.5 MB installation. It serves as an excellent replacement for the preloaded feature, which feels like it can take forever to load your long list of installed apps.

Revo's colorful main window belies the program's features.

(Credit: VS Revo Group)

When you launch Revo, it loads up the Uninstaller screen, which shows icons and titles of all programs installed on your machine. You can change the View to List or Details, if you'd like more information. Right-clicking gives users a list of choices, from the fundamental like Uninstall and Remove from list to Search Google, Show the installation directory, and quick access to the app's Help file, its About screen and an Update link.

Revo's Options menu provides some powerful tools. Advanced mode adds registry key access to the context menu, lets you load the program in fast mode, and lets you choose to run only the uninstall functions when Revo boots up.

The Tools tab gives users more ancillary but useful tools. Under Optimization there's an AutoRun Manager, Windows Tools access screen, and a Junk File finder/killer. The AutoRun Manager provides one-stop shopping for tweaking your computer's startup routine and making sure that programs aren't surreptitiously loading on the sly. Windows Tools pulls together various and disparate basic utilities under one umbrella, so that you only have to go to one place to find your built-in System Restore, Disk Defragmenter, Security Center, and more including the standard Add/Remove Programs.

The Hunter tool lets you uninstall and more on the fly.

(Credit: VS Revo Group)

Hit the blue Tracks Cleaner bar at the bottom to get access to cache-cleaning features. These include the basics, browser and recently opened docs cleaners, as well as crash memory dump files, MS Office cleaners, system-wide and program-specific search histories, and more. The browser cleaner has been optimized for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Netscape.

The Junk File tool I found to be the most useful of the three: It hunts down program remnants that might no longer be in use and lists them, to be deleted at your whim. It's not quite like hitting the big red button in the Death Star control room--you certainly don't get to wear a '70s black sci-fi helmet unless you build one yourself--but it might make you feel almost as good to clean out all that detritus. Revo lets users customize what file types get picked up by the Junk File tool, too, so if you don't want to accidentally delete your TMPs you don't have to worry.

The Autorun Manager is useful for keeping your startup on the straight and narrow.

(Credit: VS Revo Group)

There's one more cool function in Revo: The Hunter. Choose this button, and the program minimizes to be replaced by a gunsight. Click and hold on the gunsight and drag it to whatever program window you have open, or on a program on your taskbar, or in your system tray, and a context menu for uninstalling it opens up. You can cancel if you like, but you can also search for more info on Google, open the containing folder, or kill the process running the app. That's right, in addition to being an uninstaller, Revo has a built-in process killing feature, an instant line-item veto for your computer.

Although I've seen similar uninstaller replacements with similar features, they've all been trialware. But even if it weren't free, Revo and the way that it revolutionizes your uninstall workflow would be hard to pass up.

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