Perfect Uninstaller claims to be the ultimate solution to program uninstallation problems. Anyone who has worked with Windows much knows that the default Windows program uninstaller does not always work as well as one might like.
Certain programs, like anti-virus software and browser toolbar, tend to resist being uninstalled through normal means. Directories and configuration files can be left behind, cluttering up the hard drive. Remnants of the program can continue to exist in the Registry, slowing Windows down. Perfect Uninstaller touts itself as the all-in-one solution to all of these problems. But does it really? Read on in our exclusive review to find out!
Perfect Uninstaller Pros
On the surface, there is a lot to recommend about Perfect Uninstaller. It comes in an extremely small package, only 1.7 megabytes and installs quickly and easily on any Windows version all the way back to Windows 95. Once installed, it brings up a menu that lists all the software installed on the computer, and gives three separate options for uninstalling them.
UNINSTALL – The regular uninstaller that should work with most regular installed programs.
FORCE UNINSTALL – If the normal Uninstall fails, this is the next step up, that attempts to “brute force” remove everything associated with the program. This option also works with programs which have broken installations or have become corrupted, which generally causes the regular Windows uninstaller to fail.
SPECIAL UNINSTALL – Certain programs designed to be difficult to uninstall, like anti-virus software, require specific series of steps for removal. This section lists these programs and has custom routines for taking them out. As a nice bonus, if you have a program that resists the other uninstallers but is not on the list, there is an option to submit the program’s details to the Perfect Uninstall developers, who will send you a custom solution within two business days.
In general, Perfect Uninstaller works exactly as advertised. Although we did not attempt any direct head-to-head comparisons between it and the regular Windows uninstall, it did often seem to work more quickly than the basic version. It was quite successful in taking out a few programs in corrupted directories that the regular uninstall could not take care of. We also tried it on an anti-virus program, and even though it required more time, that too was removed without any issue.
But wait, as Billy Mays would have said, that’s not all! Perfect Uninstaller also includes several other tools for tuning up a computer. It comes with a Startup Manager that lists all the programs automatically running at boot up and allows the user to disable ones they no longer want, which improves startup times and overall system responsiveness. It also includes a registry cleaner option that attempts to clear out unneeded entries, as well as a system for backing up and restoring the registry. (Note: It is an extremely bad idea to ever run a registry cleaner without backing up the registry first.
It is too easy for even the most well-meaning software to accidentally cause problems.) The software also contains its own system backuprestore system as well. Additionally, as a nice touch for people who are worried about wasting money on a piece of software, it comes with a free trial for those who want to try it before they buy it. It also comes with a sixty-day money back guarantee for people who are dissatisfied with it for any reason.
There are remarkably few problems with Perfect Uninstaller; in general it does exactly what it promises. There are a handful of quibbles, however. The main screen is a bit cluttered, and the icon set could be more clear in terms of what does what. It’s also not immediately obvious what the differences are between the three uninstaller options. A new user will probably want to spend some time with the help files to understand what they are doing. Also, while it generally does a better job at uninstalling than the regular Windows option, Perfect Uninstaller is not quite, well, perfect.
Sometimes it still fails to remove all the directories and configuration files, like the regular uninstaller, and that forces you to clear out the remaining files by hand. Also, occasionally it fails in fully removing a program from the Registry, causing it to continue to show up in the “Installed Programs” list.
The Registry cleaner option can usually take care of this, but it seems unfortunate that this ends up being a separate step when it should be part of the basic uninstallation process. The other issue is the price. There are a large number of alternate uninstaller programs which are free and open source. While it offers a very complete set of tools with a fairly easy-to-use interface, there are free programs online which can do everything it can do.
“I had a stubborrn piece of software called Roxio VHS to DVD which I replaced with something better and wanted to remove Roxio.The Add/Remove programs of course failed, as did 3 more so-called ‘Uninstallers’ products, and it was only by chance I came across the Perfect Uninstaller. It found and removed all traces of the Roxio Product which other uninstallers could not even find. I had even tried Safe Mode and had partially removed some components myself, but only the Perfect Uninstaller found all the remaining parts and sucessfully removed them. Prior to that I had a wait of 10 minutes while Windows Installer tried to run every time I booted the machine. I think you should step up your advertising, you have a really good piece of software there.”
All in all, this is a very good piece of software. It works exactly as advertised the vast majority of the time, and includes a host of other tools for tuning up a computer and helping it run its best. Since the program comes with a free trial, there’s no reason not to head out to their website and give Perfect Uninstaller a try today!