Quick setup; easy to use
Setup is simple. Insert the CD-ROM, click Next several times for the default settings, and relax as the program installs itself within minutes. Navigation is simple, too, thanks to EasyUninstall's Web-like main page that provides fast links to the program's core tools: application uninstaller, disk cleaner, Registry editor, and so on. Its wizardlike screens are a breeze to understand. When you pick a tool, a series of explanatory screens step you through the task.
For fast file pruning, the QuickCleaner feature is safe and effective, clearing out Web caches, history lists, and the Windows Recycle Bin. QuickCleaner plays it safe by ignoring notoriously disk-clogging junk such as temporary and backup files, but you can add these if you wish by checking the appropriate box in QuickCleaner's file category list. Unfortunately, QuickCleaner doesn't allow you to review its tagged files and select those you wish to keep, before deleting them.
Experienced Windows users will prefer EasyUninstall's Advanced Cleaner, which lets users locate dusty files that QuickCleaner ignores, including leftover installation files, faxes older than 1998, and multimedia files that haven't been accessed since 1999. Advanced Cleaner lets you review its selections and retain critical files too (by clicking a checkbox next to each file). In CNET tests, Advanced Cleaner uncovered about 380MB of unneeded temporary and archived files, far more than similar tools in competing programs. It avoided the mistakes of competing uninstallers too, by avoiding MP3, MPEG, and other multimedia files.
Like Norton CleanSweep 2002 and McAfee QuickClean 2.0, EasyUninstall 2.0 comes with its own uninstaller utility, rather than simply relying on the uninstaller that comes with each Windows program. Unfortunately, EasyUninstall's scanning applet, which examines the hard drive and builds a list of installed programs, sometimes crashed in our tests and forced us to reboot Windows. Other times it ran without a hitch.
EasyUninstall 2.0 includes an easy-to-use tool for backing up and archiving unused programs. It also backs up deleted programs and files, which is helpful if you need to restore a zapped app.
Free phone support
Of the four uninstaller vendors in this roundup, Ontrack is the only one that offers free phone support (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT). In CNET tests, phone wait times were typically less than 10 minutes, and the support people were helpful. Our e-mail queries were answered in less than one business day. Ontrack's Web site has product FAQs, an EasyUninstall user guide, and an e-mail form for technical queries.
With its clean interface, powerful selection of disk-sweeping tools, free phone support, and competitive $29.95 price, EasyUninstall 2.0 is a winner. It may not be as well known as Symantec's popular Norton CleanSweep 2002, but it should be.
--by Jeff Bertolucci