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
15 thoughts on “Best Free Uninstallers – 2020”
Iobit’s Uninstaller is my favorite, it’s only an annoyance when I have to manually go to the website to update it. Any of those update just from the program alone?
Yes. Both Hibit and Geek check for updates at each launch and will auto update from within the program. With Revo the update function is also built into the program but is initiated manually. Not sure about BulkCrap Cleaner.
All are portable too, of course.
Many months ago I came across HiBit Uninstaller, and then I was forced to reset my computer and lost track of HiBit. Sad, but thanks for the reminder: my experience was very nice with HiBit Uninstaller. Try it out, at least, you may like it a lot, as did I. Robb
Thanks for your input here, appreciated.
I do a lot of installs and uninstalls of FREEware and/or PAYware and have been relying on Revo to not only help uninstalling the cling-ons most installations leave behind (when using the built-in uninstallers) but I also allow Revo to monitor all installation procedures, to assist in the uninstallation process.
I do, however, have issues with any FREEware utility which also provides a “pro” versions with more features but becomes not so FREE.
I sure would like to read a comparison of the “best” uninstallers regardless of the cost. Some of these PAYware provide other system-level utilities, which Revo also achieves quite competently.
It is worth for me to install your #1 FREEware choice but I will use Revo to monitor this installation, in case it does not agree with my way of [errrr….] computing practices…
So you are using the Pro version of Revo then.
Me too. I can only imagine the time and effort involved with that project though, so many uninstallers, free and commercial, it would entail a heck of a lot of work.
Not if you’re already using Revo Pro. BTW: all of the uninstallers included in the article are portable, therefore do not require to be installed.
What I hate more than PAYware is Subscription-ware. RevoPro upgrade (from v3.x to v4.x) now appears to be a $15/year subscription and I may need some other utility in the future.
One of the most nastiest installs that I have to do (now that iTunes for Windows is long gone) is TurboTax. It is the dirtiest built-in uninstaller I have ever come across. Saddest part is that I have to do this every year, for friends’ and family’ computers.
I couldn’t agree more on that one, I will not even consider any software that is subscription based.
Okay, well, if you are looking for a good free and portable potential replacement for Revo Pro, I would definitely recommend HiBit.
Please tell ShareWare to STOP sending me emails saying my download is ready when I already did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And YES you are part of ShareWare.
If you are referring to the Daily giveaway in the Main menu, then I must insist that DCT does not have any control over that site’s behavior.
If their actions are irritating you, why don’t you have their mail sent to your SPAM folder?
You seem angry with DCT, but we are not the ones at fault here.
Why not respond to me at all?
I was sleeping. I do that now and again.
I’m surprised that you didn’t take a look at IOBIT Uninstaller. It has both a Free and a Paid version and it not only handles left overs, but it lets you uninstall Windows apps and if you’re running the paid version and logging your installs, it lets you know when there’s an update available for your installed apps.
All of the uninstallers mentioned in the above article are portable applications and IObit Uninstaller is not portable. As per the intro:
I have a distinct preference for portable Vickie but that does not necessarily mean IObit is not a good uninstaller.
I tried the others but they couldn’t compete on the uniqueness that I found in Iobit’s Uninstaller, until I tried HiBit, it works just the same and I can really switch over without hesitation. I tend to install my programs, but portable is really a nice-to-have.
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