My Love Affair with Revo Uninstaller

Installing software on Windows is like ripping open a feather pillow in a wind tunnel. You can tell where many of the files go, but there are hundreds of registry entries, user-specific files and other files that seem to get stuck in the unseen corners of your computer.

A common solution to Autodesk software problems is to "uninstall and reinstall". Running the traditional Windows uninstaller from Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs really only uninstalls a small portion of the product. As a support person, we often tell people to do a "complete" uninstall. I find that people either, 1) Don't know what I mean exactly, or 2) Lie about it, thinking I'm just making them do extra steps to be sadistic.

A true, complete uninstall involves:

  1. Running the uninstaller.
  2. Manually deleting the following 
    • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2014\
    • C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2014
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2014
    • C:\Users\[user login]\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\C3D 2014
    • C:\Users\[user login]\Appdata\Local\Autodesk\C3D 2014
  3. Go to REGEDIT.exe
    • Verify that the following keys were removed:
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R1#.#\ACAD-D000:409\
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R1#.#\ACAD-D000:409\
    • (If the uninstall completed successfully, these should already be gone - but I always like to check *just* in case.)
  4. Clear the contents of the %temp% directory.
Even following those steps may not be enough. If you search your registry for the product you uninstalled, there are still many cling-ons. Additionally, doing all those steps is a huge PIA. That is where Revo Uninstaller Pro comes in. 

Revo is worth the license fee of $30-$70 (depending on what version and how many licenses you buy) because it cleans all the leftover files and registry entries automatically. Even if the program does not appear in Add/Remove programs, Revo Uninstaller will find it. It's like a high-colonic for your registry. 

A feature I use frequently is the Quick Uninstall tool. This allows you to pick a bunch of programs at once and uninstall them as a batch.
You do need to stay close by to keep hitting continue, however. It does not delete or uninstall anything without verifying twice. 

There are three modes; Safe, Moderate and Advanced. I recommend sticking with Moderate. With Autodesk products, Revo will delete the Autodesk Shared stuff if you set this to Advanced, and you don't want that; it will break other products you have installed alongside the one you want to obliterate. 

The best part comes when it gathers leftover registry entries, files and folders. It is so satisfying to select all those checkboxes and click DELETE!

There isn't anything that Revo does that a half-way decent IT person couldn't do manually (or script out if they are 3/4 decent), however it is a lovely convenience. 

For those of you in large organizations that want to uninstall stuff using SCCM or similar, Revo has command line support

My $0.02. I'm not getting any kickbacks from the Revo people for writing all this (although if you happen to work at Revo and want to pat me on the head for endorsing your product, I'd love a free copy of the Revo Uninstaller Pro Portable!), I genuinely like the tool and have used it for years. 

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