For this review I am using the standard 30-day trial version 6.3.4! I’ve tested this software for personal use in the past along with other uninstallers so this time I am a bit more familiar with the product than in my previous reviews. No head banging or keyboard throwing this round, sorry folks! I will be focusing this review and testing around two freeware applications that I use on occasion.
As always~the users experience with a program begins with the download of the software. In this case mine was completely acceptable at a rate over 700kb/s taking less than a minute for a 16.4 MB installer exe without the use of a download manager.
The install process was painless and quick.
It has the standard screens I expect from installers and did NOT contain any toolbars, links to other software, or possibly unwanted program ‘extras’. I find these to be both annoying and unnecessary.
Once again, less than a minute later I was ready to continue using the application. Launching the main program opens up a window with medium sized icons on a toolbar near the top that enable quick access to the primary functions.
I did NOT receive any nag windows asking me to pay for the software. This is a nice change from other trial softwares that bombard you at every opportunity (Startup/Exit & use of a function) Instead you are notified with a small reminder in the lower right hand corner of the screen,
The primary function of this software, is as the name implies, to totally uninstall programs. A sad but prevalent fact that we encounter today is that many times when you uninstall a program, many extra pieces get left behind. This can occur for several reasons and I’ll give you two examples. It could be from a locked file (open elsewhere) and the installer not being designed to handle this situation or the use of 3rd party installers that only ‘remember’ what files it created and are unaware of what files folders or registry entries the software it installed itself may create upon launch and regular use. When you test out a lot of software (like me) these leftovers can add up over time eating drive space and making a mess of the registry.
Unless you have just done a full ‘clean’ install of windows, chances are you already have more than a couple of programs installed. This is where the program screen defaults to, a list of applications, many that you would find in your programs and features section of the control panel. Not only does it list these, but once you select an application, it attempts to analyze the program and find files, references and registry entries.
And once it has completed the work, it displays the information it finds for you.
If this is a bunch of nonsense for you, it’s easy enough to change to a summary view which instead lists the detected component totals.
If you decide to uninstall the program, you get a simple window with a few options that you can choose from.
For my testing I left it at the defaults, and continued. It launched the programs uninstaller which I thought was a nice touch as it allows the program to uninstall itself and minimizes the chances that something would break along the way by ripping it out manually.
After it completed, Total Uninstall continued by using the information from it’s own analysis and removing some extra leftovers.
Along the way it was nice enough to create a backup and ask me for input on a folder in case it contained documents etc that I may have wanted to keep. As it was only the cache this time, I went ahead and selected it for removal.
Once it was all done, it showed me a quick log of the changes it had made.
As you can see from the output above it managed to clean up more than a few entries that the programs uninstaller had left behind proving that it was actually useful.
Now that we’ve covered this aspect of the software, it is time to move on to the next. While similar in many regards, the monitored applications tab is where a noticeable difference can be seen after some testing.
These days I tend to float toward testing inside a virtual machine but sometimes use on my real machine is still called for. In these cases you need to have a some way of keeping track of the changes and this is where Total Uninstall shines.
For this second test I used Calibre and monitored the install from start all the way to the first application launch and close. I started this proccess by going to my download folder and right clicking on the installer (rather than double-click) and selected Monitor with Total Uninstall.
With Total Uninstall open and the monitored programs button selected you also have ‘install’ option that does the same thing.
Please note that it also possible to enable an ‘Agent’ that will attempt to catch software installations automatically if you’d rather not have to remember to do it manually. This isn’t enabled by default but I think it would aid a large chunk of regular users. I hate unneeded startup programs and would disable it myself so I don’t count this against the software, perhaps just something of a confused side note…?
It does a quick ‘before’ scan then runs the installer as normal (once you select the option)
I’ve found that launching the application at least once prior to completing the monitoring proccess allows this software to do its job superbly. After all is done, hitting the ‘Program is installed’ option preforms the after scan and outputs the detected changes to the window. (unless you’ve previously selected summary it should be similar to the pictures below.)
As you can see from the screen above, it logs ALL changes made to the primary OS drive including some background proccesses I had running, such as Agnitum Outpost Security Suite. Not to worry though, if you choose to uninstall the program, it won’t delete those ‘changed’ files! It is also possible to add more ‘watched’ paths or even ‘excluded’ paths to prevent entries such as those mentioned above. Further down on the same list is a log of the registry changes.
The uninstall process for a monitored program is identical to the one previously shown (in fact it’s even simpler) so I won’t waste more of your time describing and showing you a nearly duplicate process.
My tests were done using the ‘default’ settings. However as you will see next the options allow for a much more detailed scan.
A slider allows you to easily tweak the settings for your preference. The more advanced detection settings result in a slightly increased duration of before and after scans, but still beats some similar monitoring software (which I have previously used) hands down. The one I used previously can take up to 30 minutes per scan on older computers. (old in this context is 2007-2010 ???? with a spindle HDD) Yet even in it’s most advanced mode Total Uninstall never takes more than 3 minutes on mine while the same program mentioned above takes about 10 minutes for each scan and another 2 minutes just to create the log…
Below is a quick snap of the option I mentioned earlier about the ‘Agent’ you can run in the background to detect software installation and allow you to log it without manually launching it each time.
In addition to it’s primary function it also has a quick ‘clean’ function that seems to be useful for cleaning temporary, log, and other misc areas that can collect junk files. There is also a section for more settings or exclusions for this feature as well. Be sure to check those out before running the cleaning!
I personally don’t see this feature as a requirement for such an application but it’s a nice touch for those that don’t already have or would rather not use another application for a quick cleanup.
Summary and final thoughts:
The interface is elegant, no huge buttons wasting space or otherwise making the user adjust to a new ‘style’. Its trial mode is unobtrusive which allows for an easier test run and less annoyance in general. The options for each step are layed out quite well requiring a minimum of knowledge (insert almost computer illiterate) to use each function. The performance of its primary functions is great both in speed and effectiveness. While not requiring a lot of knowledge to use, it does display a lot of helpful information that those with the appropriate know-how could make use of when needed
I’ve tested this software in the past (versions 4.x-5.x I think) and the interface hasn’t changed much which I count as a plus.
While the program did attempt to ‘phone home’ for updates I was not required to input any email or preform any online activation of the trial. In an age where this is becoming annoyingly frequent, I was glad to see that thus far the developer(s) has not switched over this method in the newer versions.
The program size and CPU usage when not preforming a system scan are both very low. All in all I think this is a great program that is very useful. Its scope is limited to its primary focus instead of being bogged down with tons of ‘extras’ such as registry cleaners, duplicate file removal, etc. The performance reflects the focus given to staying true to it’s name.
I consider myself quite a picky person but even I would give this software 10 out of 10.
Of all the monitoring programs I have tested, Total Uninstall is my favorite to date. (#1)
I highly recommend that you give Total Uninstall a test run yourself!
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