Which program is the most thorough software uninstaller on Windows?

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 18, 2015
Updated • Apr 7, 2016

Whenever you want to uninstall software on Windows, you have two core options to do so. You may install it using Windows' remove a program control panel applet or use third-party tools for the job.

The native option in Windows gets the job done most of the time but lacks advanced features such as cleaning up leftovers.

If you have removed software in the past from your computer you may have noticed empty Start Menu folders for instance which were not removed with the program.

These leftovers are not a problem usually. They may take up a bit of space on the hard drive or clutter the system but they usually do not cause any functionality issues on the system.

When it comes to advanced uninstallers, the following three are mentioned the most: Geek Uninstaller, IOBit Uninstaller and Revo Uninstaller.

Which of the three is best at cleaning programs and leftovers on Windows PCs? Lets find out.

Geek Uninstaller, available as a portable version.

IOBit Uninstaller, needs to be installed.

iobit uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller, available as a portable version.

revo uninstaller

All three programs are compatible with all supported versions of the Windows operating system.

Programs listed

First test: how many installed programs are recognized by the three uninstaller programs.

  1. Geek Uninstaller listed 125 programs
  2. IOBit Uninstaller listed 118 programs
  3. Revo Uninstaller listed 84 programs

The free version of Revo Uninstaller does not offer full 64-bit compatibility which means that it won't list 64-bit programs in its interface.

That's a serious issue right there as it limits program functionality on 64-bit systems.

The difference in the program count between Geek Uninstaller and IOBit Uninstaller is not as easy to explain. IOBit did not pick up some programs, Boxcryptor or Apple Software Update for instance, which Geek Uninstaller did list in its interface.


How thorough is the removal process of each program? To find out, I installed the three random programs Tomahawk, Telegram Desktop and SlimBrowser, and ran uninstall operations on each using each of the three removal programs.

I ran each program once and accepted all suggestions before I closed it and ran the uninstaller. The moderate uninstallation mode was selected in Revo Uninstaller as it is the program's default mode that is likely used by the majority of its users.


Geek Uninstaller

Listed Tomahawk with a size of 115 Megabyte and today's installation date. The selection of uninstall ran the native uninstaller of the program first and then the leftover scan.

The scan found 78 Registry items that it linked to Tomahawk.

IOBit Uninstaller

The program listed Tomahawk with a size of 115.65 Megabytes and today's installation date. It ran the uninstaller of the program first and found 39 Registry items in its own leftover scan.

iobit tomahawk

Revo Uninstaller

Listed Tomahawk with a size of 115.65 Megabyte and today's installation date. It ran the regular uninstaller first before it ran its own scan for left over files.

Revo Uninstaller found 303 different Registry items that it associated with Tomahawk.

Revo was the only program to list leftover files in a local directory. It found 24 files in the directory.

revo tomahawk


Both Geek Uninstaller and IOBit Uninstaller missed the data directory with 24 files that Revo Uninstaller did pick up. Revo did find additional Registry items that the two other programs did not find.

Telegram Desktop

Geek Uninstaller

Geek Uninstaller listed the program with a size of 25 Megabyte in its interface. It found no leftover traces.

IOBit Uninstaller

Listed Telegram with 25.08 Megabyte and today's installation date. Found nine Registry items associated with Telegram Desktop.

iobit telegram

Revo Uninstaller

Listed Telegram Desktop with a size of 25.08 Megabyte in its interface. It found 9 leftover Registry items that the regular uninstaller did not delete on the system.



Geek Uninstaller failed to find the nine Registry items that Revo and IOBit found.


Geek Uninstaller

The leftover scan found three Registry items and no files.

IOBit Uninstaller

IOBit's program found 66 leftover items in the Registry but no files on the system.

iobit slim

Revo Uninstaller

The program found 69 Registry items and three leftover files.

revo slim


Revo Uninstaller picked up 69 Registry items and three local files, more than the other two programs.

Final Results

Tomahawk Telegram SlimBrowser
Registry Files Registry Files Registry Files
Geek Uninstaller 78 0 0 0 3 0
IOBit Uninstaller 39 0 9 0 66 0
Revo Uninstaller 303 24 9 0 69 3

Closing Words

Revo Uninstaller turns out to be the most thorough uninstaller of the three tested ones. It is held back however by its lack of 64-bit program support which will become more and more of an issue in the future as programs shift to 64-bit.

The test was not run under scientific conditions and results may vary if you run it using different programs.

Still, it is interesting to see that there is a huge difference when it comes to leftover files and Registry items found by program uninstallers.

Now You: Do you care about program leftovers?

Which program is the most thorough software uninstaller on Windows?
Article Name
Which program is the most thorough software uninstaller on Windows?
Which program uninstaller is more thorough than others? We ran tests to find that out.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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