TechBite: Pry Loose Stubborn Programs


By Steve Bass

Here’s a quiz: When’s a program a permanent fixture on your desktop? When you can’t find a way to uninstall it.

You’ve probably noticed that some programs you install never make it to the Windows Add/Remove applet; others simply disappear from the list. (I know, it couldn’t be anything you’ve done, like maybe delete the app’s directory….)

Making things worse is that some well-known apps don’t create uninstallers on the local machine. For instance, AVG Free, an antivirus program, puts its uninstaller into the downloaded installation package — something many users zap right after they have a successful install. So to uninstall AVG, you’d need to download and install the program again, then select uninstall from the installation options list. (Ain’t computing fun?) One thing to try is Googling the program’s name with the word uninstall. (Like this: “[program name] uninstall”). You may bump into a third-party program or script that’ll do the dirty work for you.

If you can’t see a program in Add/Remove, it makes uninstalling it a real pain in the Bass (also known as a PITA). I ran into the problem on Judy’s PC recently with Apple’s iTunes and QuickTime; it cost me a few beers and a couple of hours of troubleshooting.

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15 thoughts on “TechBite: Pry Loose Stubborn Programs”

  1. There is a rreeware program called, “Revo Uninstaller”, that will allow you to remove a program and then show you and allow you to remove any leftover trash left by the program’s uninstaller. I’ve used it many times with no problems. Go to , “” and do a search for it.

  2. “Revo Uninstaller” works real well. I digs very deep and appears to pick up all the loose ends. I have used it for about 5 months and am very impressed.

  3. I stopped using reg cleaners ages ago. If I want to kill the beast, I run it and then check what’s running in System Information. I note all the registry strings and cutesy filenames.

    Then close it, open reg, and go delete everything related to that program. Works every time and no dangling junk.

    Of course I backup the reg before doing this.

  4. After uninstalling any application I always go into JV-16 ‘Registry Finder’ and type in the app’s name(make sure to be quite specific). There are usually loads and loads of rubbish files left in there, all part of the app’s installation. A quick check of the list to make sure the items refer only to that application in question I then select and click on delete all.

    Never had anything nasty happen yet as the result. With all the many, great utilities in the registered version of JV16 I wouldn’t be without it.

  5. Charles Allen
    Are you intending to share the name & source of the program you recommend?

    And Rob Gould,
    I do not know which program you refer to as “your uninstaller”.
    Care to explain
    peter O

  6. I have tried a few Un-installers and there is ALWAYS something left in the registry.

    The best one I had tried and paid for is Max Registry cleaner. As It does a very good job on my Vista X64 it still does not get rid of everything in the registry.

    This what I would like it to do. You know when you download a demo game that lets you play it for an hour and it stop’s working?

    Well that is a very good way to check to see if your Registry cleaner really works. After you play what ever program it is for that free hour and it stops working then Un-install it and then run the registry cleaner program that you have.

    Then try to play that demo again and see if it will let you play for another hour. If it doesn’t then your registry cleaner isn’t doing a great job is it!!

    Haven’t found a registry cleaner that will do this as of yet.

  7. While Your Uninstaller works great, one still has to go to regedit and find the final remnants. Every program hates being uninstalled completely!!!!

  8. Lesley Roberts

    Try answering this one,how do you delete a programme from the program files it has successfully been deleted everywhere else,when you get the message,you must have administrator rights,(which I do),and refuses to delete the programme,which comes on every time I log on and then tells me there is an access violiation at such and such,and which I am sick to death of seeing.Sorry,this is a bit garbled but I am not that computer literate.

  9. I have been using Your Uninstaller for years and it works great. Uninstalls the program the cleans the registry of all traces. Has some nifty tools too.

  10. I am not swift at getting rid of old downloaded files or even id’ing what they are. How do I ID and delete downloaded or other files. I also had a system restore. Now my E-mails won’t delete. I heard how to get it to prompt but I don’t recall it.

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