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Inspired by the questions on removing orphaned services and force-removing windows services, what techniques do you use to remove traces of an application from Windows? Traces include things like

  • Leftover files in system folders / Program Files
  • Registry info
  • Bad user settings
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

One tool I have had good luck with is the Windows Installer Cleanup Tool.

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Sometimes once you've tried the uninstallers and the cleanup tools, your left with on option, delete the files, and trawl the registry to remove keys.

Editing your registry can harm you pc, backup etc...

The most common places to find applicaiton settings are :


In particular your going to want to look at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\CURRENTVERSION\RUN, this is where the startup information is stored, so any apps that start on boot will be in here.

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I uninstall using Revo Uninstaller. It's wonderful and free. I remove trash using CCleaner.

And finally, I use Process Explorer and AutoRuns to find any zombie autostarting and running in background.

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