Total Uninstaller?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by ErikAlbert, Mar 5, 2006.

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  1. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I'm tired of incomplete uninstalls of legitimate softwares, caused by bad uninstall programs and I would like to solve this problem once and for all in a normal way in stead of using 'dangerous' Registry Cleaners or
    manual removal by even more 'dangerous' less-knowledgeable users.

    I have a few questions to check if I'm right about this software, because I never used any uninstall software, except software uninstall programs and Windows Add/Remove, which fail regulary in doing their job properly.

    1. In order to be effective and complete, Total Uninstaller (SU) should be installed right after winXPproSP2.
    So TU is the very first software to be installed AFTER installing your OS. Right or Wrong ?

    2. TU can't guarantee a complete uninstall for each software that has been installed BEFORE TU was uninstalled. Right or Wrong ?

    3. Each time a software is installed TU will remember EACH object (registry, folders, registry, icons, ...)
    that needs to be removed if that software is ever uninstalled. Right or Wrong ?

    4. TU is available in two version : free and paid.
    Total Uninstall v2.35 (Last free version)
    http://freeware4u.com/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=234
    Total Uninstall v3.51 ($29.00)
    http://www.martau.com/

    Is the paid version worth to buy ? Is it a serious improvement ?

    5. Suppose an upgrade of a software adds a new additional object to the software, will TU remember that object too ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2006
  2. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    Hi ErikAlbert,
    Don't know if it's right or wrong, but see my next answer. :doubt:
    Once TU is installed you can monitor all new software you want to install.
    Afterwards you'll use TU to uninstall unwanted software completely.
    All previous software installed prior to installing TU can't be uninstalled by TU.
    Each time you install new software TU will make a snapshot of your system.
    Afterwards it will make a new snapshot with the changes made to your system.
    When uninstalling it will use that data to restore your system the way it was before,
    meaning it will remove the registry keys, folders, icons, ... :D
    Of course you'll always have to acknowledge whether you want to remove folders or not. :cool:
    Never used the free version, so I can't answer that. :doubt:
    Can't answer to all questions, still learning TU. :D
    Martau does have a forum where you'll find answers to lots of your questions.
    Take a look there.

    Hope that helps a bit. ;)
     
  3. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    The best you can do, is to install the trial version and read the Help to clarify all your doubts... ;)
     
  4. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    Eldar was more faster... ;)
     
  5. Phant0m

    Phant0m Registered Member

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    I don’t think Total Uninstall is efficient when dealing with software that installs drivers, such as Anti-Virus systems, Firewalls...
     
  6. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    For once I was. :D ;)
    BTW I should add that I only use TU to try out software and NOT to monitor all software installed on my system.
     
  7. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Eldar,
    Thanks for the arrow to Total Uninstaller Forum. I just registered and joined this forum a minut ago and thanks for answering my question. :cool:
     
  8. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    My pleasure ErikAlbert.
    Hope you'll find what you're looking for. ;)
     
  9. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    It's better to use the uninstaller of each program, and then use TU to remove the things that the uninstall program don't remove...

    :D
    I think that this program should only be use for this...
     
  10. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Thanks for the warning, but I like to see this for myself first.
    You used the word think, which means you don't really know for sure. :)
     
  11. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Ir's too bad windows does such a poor job uninstalling programs, likewise app's that have ther own uninstall routines, often do a poor job as well.

    Okay! I don't run TU, but I'll bet it adds yet another icon to the system tray, which will take up memory. I'm very stingy about allowing apps. to use the system tray.

    I make it a practice to do the following prior to installing any new software:

    1. SystemRestore point, something like "preX (where X= new install)
    2. ERUNT

    Should the new install prove problematic, after my best efforts at removal ( uninstall > RegSeeker/RegHeal > perhaps safe mode, for folders) I have SystemRestore & ERUNT to fall back on.

    So how or why would TU be helpful?

    Also if an app really makes a mess of the system, we have our trusty backups to rely on also.

    As Always Take Care,
    rico
     
  12. Phant0m

    Phant0m Registered Member

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    Well I never personally used the product, there are others who I observed encounter problems, not sure if they didn’t follow things correctly but you would assume since they been using it often as I use my Adaware Updater (which is frequently)…

    On the Look ‘n’ Stop forum you should see on many occasions where Frederic recommends his customers not to use Total Uninstaller with his product, there are developers of various software whom also recommends their customers not to use Total Uninstaller and products alike to uninstall their software.

    Maybe you should Total Uninstaller with Look ‘n’ Stop, see if you can reproduce others experiences with this product and alike…
     
  13. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    Hi rico,
    It only adds an icon to the systray when you're using it.
    For the rest you only open it when installing new software. :)
    It doesn't monitor realtime, it's only on demand.
    In my case because I like to try a lot of software out. If I don't like it, I can remove everything it installed.
    I'm not talking about antivirus or firewall or some other security software, only some freeware, shareware apps. :cool:
    Won't be without one or two.
    Better be prepared then having messed up your system. :D
     
  14. Phant0m

    Phant0m Registered Member

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    Been documented that any software that uses NDIS IM drivers can be problematic when uninstalling the software directly with Total UnInstaller (or software alike), but the usage of Total UnInstaller can be done after the software own uninstallers performs, and shouldn't be a problem.
     
  15. zcv

    zcv Registered Member

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    Hi Rico,

    Just to pick a nit here, Windows doesn't uninstall anything, the apps uninstaller does that - however well or badly. If a particular app doesn't have an uninstaller, Windows can't do anything about it, that's where apps such as TU come in especially handy.

    So Windows doesn't do a "poor" job of uninstalling, it doesn't do it all.

    Regards - Charles
     
  16. StevieO

    StevieO Registered Member

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    Hi

    ( 1 ) Ideally yes.

    ( 2 ) Not sure what you exactly mean here, so i'll try and provide what i think you might want to know. You can't uninstall anything with TU that you didn't install with it. TU can't guarantee a complete uninstall if you have updated etc any part of the software afterwards, unless those are installed with TU.

    ( 3 ) Yes, with the above proviso.

    ( 4 ) Havn't tried the paid, always used the Free for several years to install/uninstall everything, glitch free ! I use Regseeker to clear up any leftovers, and sometimes there are due to updates/additions etc.

    ( 5 ) See No. 2

    Use the products own uninstaller first, followed by TU and a Registry clean. I think TU is great and wouldn't want to be without it. 99% of the time you will be able to get rid of 100% of install with these measures. You may once in a very blue moon see that 1% as i did in the last week. But that wasn't TU's fault !


    StevieO
     
  17. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi ZCV,

    If the application lacks an uninstaller, then windows will use its uninstaller to remove the application, this being done through add/remove.

    Take care
    rico
     
  18. Phant0m

    Phant0m Registered Member

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    Windows Add/Remove Programs merely deletes the registry key uninstall location if uninstaller file is missing, no uninstallation there... ;)
     
  19. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    I've used Total Uninstall extensively myself and find it a very powerful tool for removing application leftovers but it has a number of caveats...
    As others have mentioned, TU works on snapshots - you take a snapshot before and after a program install and TU will find the differences and reverse these when uninstalling.

    Issue 1: Many programs create registry entries when first run - it is therefore necessary to run the software just installed before taking the "after" snapshot.

    Issue 2: All changes are picked up regardless of what program made them. All other programs should therefore be shut down before doing an install (good advice generally) but users also need to review the TU changes list to filter out any made by other software (e.g. logfiles for firewalls/anti-virus software, etc) - these should be obvious since they are usually limited to the relevant program files folder or registry key. However those who are uncertain of what is running on their system may find running a "dummy" install with TU useful (taking a "before" snapshot, waiting a couple of minutes then doing the "after" snapshot).

    Issue 3: Any installs that require a Windows restart will require much more work since Windows itself will make numerous changes on a restart (Plug'n'Play device enumeration, service status, disk volume status, etc) which will need to be removed from the changes list. Trying a dummy "Windows restart" install (take a "before" snapshot, restart Windows, do the "after" snapshot) is a very good idea before installing any software for real that requires a restart (TU will not pick up on such changes with its default exclusion list though - see later note).

    Issue 4: TU needs to be run under the Admin user - it has been my experience that it will not detect any Registry changes if run under a Limited/Power User account.
    Version 3 is much faster at taking snapshots which others have mentioned - it is also much easier to edit the changes list. If you do decide to use TU then it would be an upgrade well worth considering.
    No - upgrades have to be treated as a separate install. TU relies on you informing it when you are carrying out an installation or upgrade (there is an install auto-detect option, but it doesn't work for all programs).
    TU can deal with such situations - but the default exclusions list includes HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT which means that TU will ignore driver changes. I would strongly recommend removing this exclusion but it will have the downside of TU picking up all the device changes, etc on Windows restarts mentioned in Issue 3 above.

    TU does require some practice to use effectively. However it can do a far more thorough job and shows how poorly most program uninstallers fare.
     
  20. sweater

    sweater Registered Member

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    The free Total Uninstall is very slow...:p but maybe its good. :rolleyes:
     
  21. zcv

    zcv Registered Member

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    Hi Rico,

    The Add/Remove uses the app's uninstaller to do the job. If not there, as Phant0m pointed out, it removes the registry key uninstall location, and thats it.

    Regards - Charles
     
  22. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    ErikAlbert,
    Don't you have shadowuser? If you just wanted to try some appications to see if you like them, or check for conflicts on your system; couldn't you install them in shadowmode first? Then when you re-booted all traces would be gone.
     
  23. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    @jima,
    I don't use ShadowUser (SU) yet, because I have alot of other things to learn : winXPproSP2 (new to me), partitioning, image backup, several less-important softwares and then I will learn how to use SU.
    I don't want to have too many problems at once and using SU without any knowledge of partitioning and image backup isn't right.
    Learning winXPproSP2, partitioning and image backup isn't a waste of time, because I will ALWAYS need them, whatever I do in the next 5 years.

    Your suggestion is correct in case of untrusted softwares.
    I just want to see and try these untrusted softwares in ShadowMode and I don't even have to uninstall them, because ShadowUser will get rid of them automatically during the next reboot.
    So I don't have a problem with uninstalling untrusted software and I only need ONE day to try them. Case closed.

    But I wasn't talking about untrusted softwares in my original post, I was talking about legitimate softwares only.
    We all know that the function "Add/Remove programs" of Windows doesn't always work properly and the uninstaller of too many softwares don't work properly either. Even my favorite browser "Firefox" has a bad uninstaller.
    Usually, I don't use legitimate softwares for just ONE day, because that's too short to evaluate a software.
    If I decide to uninstall a software, because I found a better one and the software has a bad uninstaller than I have a problem with the leftovers on my harddisk and that's why I need Total Uninstaller.
    Of course each member has his own methods to remove these leftovers and the way they do it has alot to do with their knowledge and experience. I prefer to start with TU and if I'm wrong so be it.

    You might wonder why the very popular Firefox has a bad uninstaller IMO, I will explain it.
    If you uninstall Firefox, your personal settings are NOT removed.
    The uninstaller of Firefox should ask the user first "Do you want to keep your personal settings : Yes or No" and if the user says "No" Firefox will remove ALL objects, if the user says "Yes" ALL objects will be removed, EXCEPT the personal settings and every software with personal data should ask that question to the user first.
    Unfortunately the uninstaller of Firefox doesn't ask that question and that's why Firefox keeps the personal settings.
    In many cases that's good, because the user will usually re-install Firefox and will need his personal settings back.
    It's not good when the user wants to get rid of Firefox completely and replace it with Opera for instance.
    If my memory is good Thunderbird works the same way and will keep your personal settings and email-address-book after uninstalling. Good in most cases, but not always. Give the user at least the choice and that doesn't happen, which is wrong IMO.


    @Paranoid2000,
    Thanks alot for mentioning the known issues and your positive opinion about TU.
    Of course I have to get familiar with TU first, but I'm warned in advance and that makes me smarter ;)
    I also think, that TU will teach me alot about which objects are exactly added on my harddisk during an installation of any software and I'm quite sure that this knowledge might become very usefull for other things in the future.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2006
  24. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Registered Member

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    I wonder if Erik Albert truly grasps how limited TU is. Let me state it clearly again, TU *only* tracks changes made before installation and *immediately after installation* (when you do the second snapshot).

    If the program makes some other change after that (after the second snapshot), it will not be tracked and hence cannot be reversed.

    I haven't used TU for a while, I'm not sure how if the snapshot comparison is on a folder level or file level.

    For example, imagine if the testing program created a folder c:\newfolder and files myfiles.txt in c:\newfolder during installation and the snapshot comparison is made.

    So TU now knows that it should reverse c:\newfolder and myfiles.txt

    In the course of the life of the tested program, it creates 3 files

    1) Myfiles2.txt in c:\newfolder

    2) Myfiles3.txt in c:\newfolder\newfolder

    3) Myfiles4.txt in c:\anothernewfolder

    What will TU remove then? I seriously doubt it would remove 3) though it might remove 1) and 2), I'm not sure.

    If you want to track ALL changes made by the tested program throughout its life, you need something like sandboxie, Bufferzone,SU etc.

    For example many shareware programs, have the trick of adding to the registry only on the nth time. TU will *not* catch that, because it was not done during the installation.
     
  25. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Well nothing is perfect, I can live with 1% failures, which is still much better than the failures of software uninstallers and Windows Add/Remove.
    I hate to use TU, because this software shouldn't even exist, if each software had a good uninstaller.
    You don't fix the errors of uninstallers with other programs like TU, you fix the errors INSIDE the uninstallers and that's the only way to do it right.
    I would be ashamed, if I wasn't able to uninstall my OWN software completely and each software company that isn't able to uninstall its own software should be ashamed too and it doesn't matter to me how many companies have a bad uninstaller.
    I will never get used to this problem until it is solved properly.
     
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