I try to keep my work and gaming PCs as clean as possible. That's most of the time easy, as I have years of experience installing software on those systems, so that I know what to look for to avoid ending up with a new toolbar or replaced home pages and search engines in my browsers.
Users who are not that tech-savvy on the other hand may fall victim to deceptive installers or deceptive download portals, or both. Internet forums and browser support sections are filled with user complaints about toolbars that they cannot remove, or manipulated search engines that they cannot revert back to the old engine they have used previously.
It only takes a minute or so for an experienced users to clean up the mess. Toolbars and other adware can be uninstalled usually like any other software, and left-overs, like a different search engine or home page can be dealt with in the browser directly.
We have published guides that help you remove some of the prominent toolbar examples:
Sometimes though you may come upon a system where multiple toolbars and adware programs have been installed on. Maybe it is a good dozen or so programs that the user of the system has installed.
While you can still clean up everything manually, you may speed up things with specialized software that removes the majority of "crapware" on a system in a single run.
Crap Killer is a new program that serves the same purpose. It is actually a batch file that you can run on a local Windows system to remove software from it that matches certain "strings".
When you analyze the program's batch file you will notice that it will search all installed software programs for strings such as "toolbar", "coupon" or "registry". All programs that match these strings are displayed afterwards in the program interface, and uninstalled one by one by the program.
Most programs are not installed silently though, so that you get to make the decision to remove it from your system or keep it.
The program processes items from top to bottom until all have been removed or kept installed on the system.
You may notice that it will include legitimate programs in the listing, as it does not distinguish between good and bad programs due to the way it identifies programs.
One option that you have is to edit the batch file to avoid this. You can remove search strings from it, edit existing strings, or even add strings of your own to it.
Problematic search strings are "free" and "speed" for example, as they will add great programs such as Speedfan or Freemake Music Box to the list of potentially unwanted programs.
An option to confirm every deletion would be more than welcome because of this.
The 7 Kilobyte script works extremely well and efficient. While you may run into false positives, you can avoid those by editing the batch file prior to running it on the system. Editing may also come in handy if you want to batch-uninstall other software from your system, as you can easily add strings that match those software to the batch file.
The developer of the script has modified it right after the review. It is now displaying a list of all software that matches its search queries and a prompt that asks you whether you want to continue with the uninstallation of all programs. If you select yes, the program commences as described in the review. If you select no, you are asked to confirm the removal of each application individually.