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WinLab Reviews
UnInstaller 4
Get Yourself a Good Housekeeper

-- by James E. Powell

An old file here, an obsolete application there-it all adds up. Fortunately, UnInstaller 4 easily finds and eliminates these major space wasters.

The first time you run the program, it builds a SmartLinks database of file and application dependencies. On my AST Advantage with a 166MHz Pentium processor and a 2.5GB hard drive, UnInstaller completed its work in under 12 minutes-a small, one-time price to pay. Thereafter, when started, the program quickly scans to see if anything has changed.

The File Cleanup feature looks for "disconnected" files-shortcuts to nonexistent applications and incorrect Registry entries. UnInstaller places a colored bullet next to each such file: Green indicates the file is safe to delete, yellow means you should proceed with caution, and red indicates you should leave it alone. Right-click to see what the object uses (the DLLs it calls, for example) and which objects depend on it.

Cleanup lets you delete programs in your Start directory, on your Desktop or anywhere on your hard drive. It offers wizard-like instructions. You choose the application and an action (delete, move, archive or transport), select options (confirm file deletions, placement of backup files) and see a preview of what UnInstaller will do. There's even an Undo "panic button" to stop any deletion and automatically restore the files. The transport operation creates a self-extracting executable file to run on the destination PC.

UnInstaller errs on the side of caution-nothing on my system crashed after it finished the cleanup sessions. The Installation Monitor runs in the background to track all changes made during the installation of new programs. This updates the dependency database to ensure that the program deletes all relevant files. I deleted several applications and dozens of junk files and also moved programs, and UnInstaller always left my system in perfect order. Windows didn't stop loading and other applications didn't stop running. With UnInstaller's careful checking, I felt confident I wasn't going to get myself in trouble.

Quarterdeck's CleanSweep 95 is slightly faster, but UnInstaller offers more options, a cleaner interface and wizards to give nervous users confidence. The SmartLinks checking is excellent. This feature alone merits replacing CleanSweep with UnInstaller on our Recommended List.

W Info File

UnInstaller 4
Price: $39.95
Pros: User interface; careful when deleting
Cons: Initial dependency-building a minor annoyance
Platforms: 95, NT
800-777-3322, 770-516-0899
WinMag Box Score: 5.0

Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.

(From Windows Magazine, January 1997, page 164.)