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TotalUninstaller - quick and easy way to remove unwanted software from Windows

Every Windows computer eventually collects tons of unwanted products, which you never explicitly installed or agreed to be installed by some other software. I’m not talking about full-fledged malware, but rather things which are semi-legit, like Visual Studio now comes with all sorts of Advertising SDK, Windows Phone development packages, F#, etc. If you never use those, then it just sits there slowing down your Visual Studio (especially startup time) and polluting your hard drive, registry, etc. Unfortunately there often no easy way to get rid of those products – “Uninstall” button (when provided) often does nothing (so called “placebo button”).

I finally got fed up and decided to do something about it. First I googled for existing solution (should be small, fast, free and minimum side effects) and could not find one. I quickly figured how to uninstall those products one by one by looking at their registry keys, but it got really tedious really fast – I did not want to spend my time this boring. Then I finally remembered that I’m developer myself and “want something to be done right – do it yourself”, so I did!

It is console app with three mutually exclusive command line switches:
/ListAll – will show ALL products installed on your computer. The list is extracted from Windows Installer database, there is no disk scanning, so results available fast and the list is huge! You won’t believe how much crap you have installed and never knew about it being there.
/Filter – will show only products which names contain one of the substrings, specified in TotalUninstaller config file. For me that config file looks like this:
<ProductsToUninstall>
<add key="1" value="Advertising"/>
<add key="2" value="Windows Phone"/>
<add key="3" value="FSharp"/>
<add key="4" value="Visual F#"/>
<add key="5" value="LightSwitch"/>
</ProductsToUninstall>
Of course, you are free to modify it. So when you specify option /Filter you will see all products with those words in their names. There are really tons of that crap, so I wanted to avoid picking it one by one.

And finally the last option is /Uninstall. It will uninstall all products which you previously saw using /Filter option. Be aware that there are no 1001 prompt “Are you really – really sure?” When you run /Uninstall all products matching the filter will disappear in a matter of seconds, so be careful, run /Filter first to see what shows up and only run /Uninstall when you are sure what you are doing. Don’t email me if you screw your machine! You have been warned!

I was not going to spend more than 2 hours on it, so don’t criticize code quality. If you want to improve it (give it nice UI, some safety features, etc.) be my guest!

UPDATE 3/7/2015: tsasioglu went ahead and provided nice WPF UI for my little tool. It may be more comfortable for some than command line. Check it out here.

Konstantin

Last edited Mar 26, 2015 at 5:54 AM by konste, version 4