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6 Easy Ways to Uninstall Programs in Windows 10

Windows 10 offers several built-in ways to delete unwanted software, but several third-party programs can also rid your hard drive of unneeded applications. Let’s look at your options.

If there are several applications on your Windows 10 PC that you no longer use, you aren’t stuck with them. Get rid of them to free up disk space and unclutter your Start menu.

Windows 10 includes an uninstaller option available through the Start menu, Settings screen, and buried within Control Panel. You can quickly and cleanly remove a Windows 10 Universal app through the uninstall feature in the Start menu and in Settings, though not with the Control Panel applet.

However, if you try to remove a full desktop application using Windows’ built-in options, the process often leaves behind leftover folders, files,  and Registry entries. That’s why you may want to use a third-party uninstaller, which can fully wipe out entire applications and leave no traces behind. Let’s go over your options.

Uninstall From the Start Menu

windows app uninstall

You can uninstall a program from the Windows 10 Start menu. Click the Start button and look for a program you wish to remove, either in the All Apps list on the left or in the tiled section on the right. Right-click the program. If it can be removed this way, you’ll see an option for Uninstall in the pop-up menu. Click it, confirm you want to uninstall it, and it’s gone.

Uninstall in App Settings

uninstall settings

You can also go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features to more easily view all the programs you can uninstall. This screen shows you both Windows Universal and standard desktop applications, so you should find every program installed on your PC here. Scroll down the list to locate the program you wish to remove, then click it and select Uninstall.

Uninstall Through Control Panel

control panel

If you prefer using Control Panel, that option is still available in the latest edition of Windows 10. Click the Start button and scroll down to the Windows System folder. Click the folder, then select the Control Panel shortcut. You can also search “Control Panel” in the search bar.

Switch to icon view and select the applet for Programs and Features. This view does not show you Windows Universal apps, only standard desktop applications. Select the program you wish to remove, then either right-click it and select Uninstall or select Uninstall at the top of the list.

Third-Party Uninstallers

Applications often spread their files and settings throughout your system and may even populate your Registry with settings that can be difficult to track down. The uninstall features built into Windows don’t necessarily remove all these leftover files and settings, but a third-party uninstaller will do a better job deleting an application completely.

The challenge in fully removing a Windows desktop application lies in finding the right balance. Many Windows files and Registry settings are shared by more than one program. So an uninstall utility needs to remove all leftovers for the program you’re uninstalling without taking out another program that may still rely on those items.

For this reason, many of the best uninstallers have specific backups and safeguards in place. If something goes wrong following an uninstallation, the app can be restored in order to fix any issues that pop up.

We recommend three third-party uninstallers programs that can get the job done. However, we also have several other free options in our Best Free Software roundup under the Uninstallers and Installers header.

Revo Uninstaller

revo uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller can cleanly and completely remove desktop applications, Windows apps, and even browser extensions. The free version offers basic features and might be a good place to start. For $24.95, the Pro edition can remove browser extensions and delete remnants of already uninstalled programs. For $29.95, the Pro Portable version can run on multiple computers and from a USB drive.

Revo Installer can remove previously installed programs, and the interface shows you all the apps on your system to make it easy to find the ones you want to remove. The program can even help install programs, which allows it to monitor the entire installation process to more accurately remove the app in the future.

To try Revo in action, double-click the program you want to remove, or right-click it and select Uninstall. Revo first creates a restore point to which you can fall back should it prove too aggressive at removing associated files and Registry entries. Next, Revo calls on the program’s own uninstall routine to remove it.

Revo then scans the Registry for leftover settings and asks if you want to remove them. For this, you can choose from three modes—Safe, Moderate, or Advanced—depending on how aggressive you want the program to be. Revo then scans for leftover files to delete them.

IObit Uninstaller

iobit uninstaller

IObit Uninstaller can get rid of desktop applications and Windows Universal apps. The free version offers basic features, such as the ability to scan for leftover fragments of an uninstalled program. For $19.99 a year, the Pro version is good for three PCs and kicks in more features, such as support for stubborn programs and browser plug-ins.

The main screen for IObit Uninstaller offers a variety of views and options. You can see all installed programs, those recently installed, large programs taking up a lot of space, and programs used infrequently. The screen also points you to Windows apps and browser plug-ins. There’s even a section for software updates where you can check to see if your programs are up to date.

To use IObit Uninstaller, select the program you want to remove and then click the Uninstall button. IObit uses the program’s own uninstaller routine to remove it, getting rid of any unnecessary files, Registry entries, and settings along the way.

Ashampoo UnInstaller

ashampoo uninstaller

Ashampoo UnInstaller can cleanly remove desktop applications and Windows apps with no leftover files or settings. The product will run you $21, though you can try before you buy with a 30-day free trial.

At the main screen, you can view all installed applications, recently installed programs, large apps, and even Windows updates. You can also check a list of all Windows apps and browser plug-ins. Ashampoo UnInstaller can also monitor installations to make programs easier to remove down the road.

To try Ashampoo UnInstaller, select a program you want to remove and click the Uninstall button. You can opt to perform additional in-depth cleaning to try erasing every vestige of the program. The program’s own uninstall routine runs, leaving Ashampoo UnInstaller to get rid of leftover files and Registry settings.


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