The correct way to remove most programs is from within its program group Uninstall shortcut in Start Menu > All Programs or by using Programs and Features
in Vista/Windows 7/8 or Add/Remove Programs
in Windows XP, so always check there first
. In most cases, using the uninstaller of the software not only removes it more effectively, but it also restores many changed configuration settings
Reboot when done and delete the Program folder if it still exists.
Alternatively, you can use a third-party utility like Revo Uninstaller Free or Portable
and follow these instructions
for using it. Revo provides a listing of all installed software by installation date and when removing a program, Revo does a more comprehensive job of searching for and removing related registry entries, files and folders.Note: Some programs can be difficult to remove due to the presence of related services and processes running in the background. Sometimes the uninstall works more effectively if you first stop and disable the program's service or perform the removal in safe mode so there are less processes which can interfere with the uninstallation.
Keep in mind that not all programs show up in Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features. Some will have their own uninstaller, which can be found in the program's folder. This is by design as some vendors write installation routines so their program will not be included in the Add/Remove list.
Note: Some programs that are included with Windows (such as games, indexing, search, media features) do not show up in Porgrams and Features. Access to these programs is controlled by using (turning on or off) Windows features
in Control Panel.
If the program is not listed in Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs) look for an uninstall icon (shortcut) from within its program group. Click on Start > All Programs (or Program Files), look for the program folder by name and use the program's uninstaller. If it's not there, the next step would be to open Window's Explorer, manually navigate to the program's folder itself, look for an uninstaller file (i.e. uninstall.exe) and double-click on it to run.
The easiest way to do this is to press the WINKEY + R
keys on the keyboard or click
, and in the Open dialog box, type: %ProgramFiles%
or press Enter
to open C:\Program Files.
Also check for a readme.txt
file which may contain removal instructions.
Another removal method if there is no entry in Add/Remove, is to launch (double-click on) the original setup.exe file used for installation. Some vendors use the setup file to offer options to repair, modify or uninstall as a separate choice from installation. Restart the Computer when done and delete the Program folder if it still exists. If the uninstaller fails or does not exist, then search the vendor's web site for removal instructions or contact their Technical Support team.
Thereafter, and only if you were successful in removing the software, reboot the computer and check for any leftover folders and shortcuts which can be manually deleted. Just right-click on it and choose delete. Common locations for leftovers include Program Files, Program Files (x86), Program Data, Users\<username>\AppData\Local, Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming and Start Menu > All Programs.
If there is no entry in Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs) and no uninstall file in the program's folder, then it most likely is a stand-alone application which can be removed by manually deleting the folder itself (which deletes everything inside it). Again just right-click on it and choose delete. When done...be sure to empty the Recycle Bin.
The next place to check is your browser extensions
After uninstallation, then you can run specialized tools like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
and JRT (Junkware Removal Tool)
to fix any remaining entries they may find. These tools typically find and remove related registry entries, files and folders to include those within the AppData folder and elsewhere without having to resort to editing the registry.
For those who want to learn more about PUPs like Softonic and how you get them, please read: About those Toolbars and Add-ons - Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)