I was asked recently to do a review for a program called Perfect Uninstaller. The idea behind an Uninstaller program is this: sometimes when you remove a program from your computer, it sometimes doesn’t go away completely. It may leave behind bits and pieces of itself in the Registry and other virtual corners of your computer. An uninstaller removes a program, and at the same time looks for those little bits of data and gets rid of them also. At least that is what they are supposed to do.
The other reason for having an Uninstaller program is that some programs just don’t like to leave at all. Norton is notorious for this; you uninstall Norton in order to install a different program. It seems to go okay, but the other program won’t install because it thinks Norton is still there. If you try to uninstall Norton again, it says it is already uninstalled. So you are left in an “uninstall purgatory” with no apparent way out.
The program we are discussing today, Perfect Uninstaller, is available here. This is my experience with it.
I clicked the big green “Free Download” button and downloaded the installation file to my Download folder (the file is just a little over 2 mb). I double-clicked to run the installation, and the Uninstaller Setup Wizard guided me through the process of installing. Very much standard procedure if you have ever installed a program before.
I had a program I wanted to remove anyway, so I had it go through the uninstall process. Most of that was normal, just like what you would expect when you uninstall the normal way (Control Panel – Add/Remove Programs). However, there was an extra step involved – Perfect Uninstaller also scanned the Registry for any leftover entries, to make sure it was really all gone. It did give me the option to skip this, but this function is one of the primary reasons for using a program such as this, so I let it perform that function.
However…after about 30 minutes of searching the same folder, I did finally hit the Skip button.
This took it to the next step, which is to check the hard drive for any leftover files. That actually did take less than a minute. When that was done, I was presented with this screen:
I would have to say I at first found this to be a little confusing. Is it showing me this list of files so that I have the option of which ones I want to delete? Or is it just presenting me with the list of files that will be deleted when I hit Next? It is actually the latter, but an inexperienced user may not understand what to do at this point, or what the ramifications are if he/she clicks Next.
As you can see, the program found several Registry Keys but no actual files that would be left behind. I clicked Next. That’s when I got this window:
That took me to a website where I was instructed to enter my name, email and zip code. I did that, and clicked on the “Register”button.
That’s when I was given the wonderful opportunity to “pay” for the “Free Download”.
Nowhere on the front page of this program’s website is there any mention of any charge. On the contrary, the big download button has the word FREE on it. What is the user supposed to assume? That the program is free, of course.
If the company is deceitful in the beginning just to get me to download the program, how do I even know that the program itself is going to do what they say it will do? The misleading advertising is a tipoff that total honesty is not exactly their company policy.
Please note, I am not saying that I am against shareware. In fact, I think it is a great thing to be able to try out some software before you actually pay for it. What I think is crummy is making people believe that your program is free, when it really isn’t.
Now I need an uninstaller program to remove my uninstaller program. Hopefully Windows really does get rid of this one completely.
This week’s video: what would you do if you thought you were about to be hit by a falling tree? Well, you would run of course.