Uninstallers play an important role virtually throughout the life of a computer. Most brand name PCs come pre-loaded with additional programs many of which are bloatware and superfluous to needs, and most users will need to uninstall programs along the way for any number of reasons– because they are no longer needed and just taking up space, they turn out not to be what we wanted, we come across a better alternative, or the program is no longer supported. Everyone would be aware that, while Windows built-in uninstaller does a fair job, there are far better third-party alternatives available., especially when it comes to dealing with leftover bits and pieces.
Here are my choices for the best free third-party uninstaller. All are either free or have a free version available and all are portable.
#1 – HiBit Uninstaller
I came across this one relatively recently and am very impressed with the way in which it handles not only uninstalls but also leftover bits and pieces. Probably the best leftover files cleaning capability among the freeware options.
- Forced Uninstall removes any stubborn software
- Remove multiple programs at once
- Monitoring installation of programs
- Program quick search function
- Uninstall Windows Store apps
- Remove browsers’ extensions
- Option to create a system restore point
- Automatic registry backups for easy restoration
- Many useful additional tools (see Tools menu in screenshot above)
To call HiBit an uninstaller is a bit of an understatement. It is more akin to a suite of maintenance and tune-up tools, including a file shredder, registry cleaner, junk files cleaner, empty folder cleaner, startup manager, process manager, and more.
I pitted HiBit’s Junk Files Cleaner against Wise Disk Cleaner and, at default settings, Wise Disk Cleaner identified 319.31 MB compared to HiBit’s 153 MB. Proof again that software dedicated to a single chore will often outperform similar tools included as part of a suite. I also compared HiBit’s Registry Cleaner with Wise Registry Cleaner– in Quick Scan mode Wise Registry Cleaner identified 263 Registry items for removal and in Deep Scan mode it identified 700 items. HiBit’s Registry scan identified 536 items for removal. The big plus factor with HiBit is that it automatically backs up deleted registry items each time which are then easily restorable from within the program’s Backup Manager.
I’ve previously always relied on either Revo or Geek uninstaller but HiBit has become my go-to uninstaller of choice.
- Download HiBit Uninstaller (either the installable or portable version)
#2 – Geek Uninstaller (free version)
Geek Uninstaller remains among my favorite uninstallers. Removal of leftover bits and pieces is not quite as thorough as HiBit, or Revo for that matter. However, it makes up for that minor negative with its sheer simplicity and ease of use. No extra bells and whistles here, just a very effective and easy to use uninstaller.
- Lightweight, simple, effective uninstaller
- Forced uninstall for stubborn or broken programs
- Uninstall Windows Store apps
- Google lookup option to help identify unknown programs
- Automatic cleanup of leftovers
- Available in 30 languages
There is no installation monitoring or batch removal but for anyone seeking a simple yet effective and portable uninstaller, Geek Uninstaller fits the bill.
- Download Geek Uninstaller portable (either ZIP or 7Z)
#3 – Revo Uninstaller (free version)
In its early years, the free version of Revo Uninstaller was limited to removing 32-bit programs only. It was only when Geek and other free installers challenged it that Revo changed its policy and decided to include support for the removal of 64-bit programs– peer pressure. That has never sat well with me and, although Revo Free is a very good uninstaller, I do not believe it is quite as effective as my top two choices.
- Very good at identifying and removing leftover bits and pieces
- Three scan modes: safe, moderate, advanced
- Automatic creation of system restore point
- Supports uninstalling Windows apps
- Includes a number of various tools (see the left-hand panel in the above screenshot)
Revo Free does not include any installation monitoring, that’s only available in the Pro version. It doesn’t include any forced uninstall feature either (again, only available in the Pro version), which is a bit of a deal-breaker in my book. Still, Revo Free remains a pretty good option purely based on its leftover file cleaning capabilities.
- Download Revo Uninstaller Free (either installer or portable)
#4 – Bulk Crap Uninstaller
Short and sweet on this one. As soon as the interface opened I knew immediately I was in trouble. I was, to put it mildly, overwhelmed. Bulk Crap Uninstaller has garnered a following based on its comprehensive but complex layout and range of options. It provides so much information regarding each installed program, the screenshot above shows only about one-quarter of the total interface horizontally. Most reviewers say Bulk Crap Uninstaller is perfect for power users, I am definitely not a power user then. I just found it to be way too busy and overwhelming.
Bulk Crap Uninstaller (in short BCUninstaller or BCU) is a free (as in speech and beer) bulk program uninstaller with advanced automation. It excels at removing large amounts of applications with minimal to no user input, while requiring next to no technical knowledge. It can detect most applications and games (even portable or not registered), clean up leftovers, force uninstall, automatically uninstall according to premade lists, and much more.
I would debate the “requiring next to no technical knowledge” statement but then, maybe I didn’t give it a fair chance. Bulk Crap Uninstaller has garnered a very good reputation and, if you consider yourself to be a power user, you can check out more details on the Bulk Crap Uninstaller Home Page.
FOOTNOTE: Bulk Crap Uninstaller emphasizes its ability to uninstall multiple programs at once and this type of feature is often lauded in editorial reviews for uninstallers. In all my 30+ years of owning and working with computers, I have never, not once, needed to uninstall multiple programs. In fact, I rarely uninstall a single program. I cannot imagine the type of scenario where this type of bulk uninstallation would be necessary on a regular basis. Perhaps when someone buys a new brand name computer that is loaded with the manufacturer’s bloatware but that is a one-off and very infrequent situation. Perhaps one of our readers might enlighten me, and others.
HiBit Uninstaller clearly top pick. Not much to pick between Geek and Revo– Revo is slightly better at removing leftovers but Geek includes a forced removal feature that is missing from Revo. All three suitable for average home users. Bulk Crap Uninstaller, as I said, maybe I didn’t give it a chance but as soon as I opened up the interface I just went- whoa, what the… Included here solely based on reputation and definitely not recommended for average home users.
FURTHER READING: How To View/Uninstall Windows 10 Updates