Thorough uninstaller

Remove pesky toolbars and more with this powerful freeware uninstaller.

Portable uninstallers rank as some of the most useful tools to have on a USB drive, especially if you're the person who helps technophobic friends and family with their forehead-slappers. We looked at IObit Uninstaller, which is portable freeware. Among its advantages are the ability to find and eliminate leftover files and its Toolbars Uninstallation Module, which targets those pesky adware toolbars that sneak into your system via cleverly configured installers and setup wizards. These toolbars can be a royal pain in the cache, and a free tool that gives them the heave-ho sounded like a winner.

As portable freeware, IObit Uninstaller requires no installation itself but runs when you click its program file. A compact, colorful interface quickly populated with our system's installed programs, displaying the size and installation date of each. A useful selection of sorting options runs along the left-hand side, letting users select All Programs, Toolbars, Recently Installed, Large Programs, Rarely Used, and Windows Updates. Commands are labeled Uninstall, Forced Uninstall, Manage, and Clean PC, though the last entry merely accesses another of the developer's downloads. Under Manage, we could manage the log, export the application list, and view the restore point, while the Uninstall command offered Standard and Advanced modes; we selected the latter. Anxious to try the toolbar zapper, we clicked Toolbars and selected two of the four entries, the other two being Firefox add-ons we wanted to keep. We clicked Uninstall, and a dialog appeared indicating that IObit was creating a system restore point, uninstalling the selection, and optionally scanning the Registry for leftover items. We opted to initiate the scan after the selected programs were removed. Including the restore point and pop-up notifications, the process takes a bit longer than the standard Windows add/remove program tool, but then it does more than Windows does as well. We also found that we had to close browser pages that solicit user feedback when a program is removed to allow the uninstaller to proceed in a couple of instances, so be on the lookout for that.

IOBit Uninstaller is one of the most powerful uninstallers we've seen in some time. It takes longer than other tools of its type, but it's thorough. Unwanted toolbars are harder to get rid of than bedbugs in a cheap motel. Just being able to throw those bums out earns IOBit Uninstaller a place in our toolkit.

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