Personally, I use the built-in uninstaller and run jv16's Registry Cleaner to clear out invalid registry entries every now and then.
Norton Cleansweep is one uninstaller that keeps track of what files/registry keys are installed, and deletes them all when you choose to uninstall. I'm not sure how well it works though, since I've never tried it myself.
One uninstaller that gets overlooked is " Smart Uninstaller "this keys in to the registry entries first and then the sytem files ,
Although issued some time ago is still very effective for XP.
Use google to locate.
Sometimes, a poorly designed uninstaller leaves behind stray files/registry entries that aren't being used by any other software. Most third-party uninstallers take snapshots of these areas before and after the program is installed, so that it can revert to the old snapshot when you want to uninstall a certain app.
But as I said, cleaning out the "Software" section of the registry manually, and other areas with a registry cleaner like jv16 after uninstalling apps does the job as well.
Some people use third-party uninstallers, others don't. It's just a matter of preference.
"Advanced Uninstaller Pro 2003 combines an easy-to-use interface with 14 new, very useful and safe features. Advanced Uninstaller enables you to:
easily and safely uninstall applications and programs remove items left behind in the Add/Remove section after program uninstall disable or enable programs that run when your computer starts, including programs which appear as system tray icons in the lower-right corner of the screen hide and show your Start Menu shortcuts at will automatically find and delete the shortcuts that don't work anymore uninstall Internet Explorer toolbars and plug-ins recover disk space and make your computer run faster by finding and deleting the temporary and invalid files left behind by Windows, Internet Explorer and many other programs maintain your privacy by deleting the Internet history
(information about the pages you visited, the addresses you typed, the Internet cookies, etc) delete the history logs of several applications such as Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, ICQ, MSN, WinZip, RealPlayer, Kazaa, Morpheus, WinAmp, etc...
disable, enable or uninstall Control Panel icons and fonts
perform a quick computer clean-up using the Quick Cleaner
easily access this new version of Advanced Uninstaller PRO 2003 by using its Control Panel applet …and many many more!
All the features of Advanced Uninstaller Pro are especially designed to be very safe and easy-to-use.
This program is designed to run on a Microsoft Windows
95/98/NT/2000/XP OS. "
I found the best method to uninstall is to use the Window's built-in uninstaller and follow-up with something like JV16 (no longer free) or Registry First Aid.
Finally, after reboot I go to Run/Regedit and delete anything pertaining to the uninstalled program manually. You can even do a registry search/find (part of Regedit.exe).
When I'm really board I browse through-out the registry looking for any old registry keys. Oh, and after all of that you can use a program to compress/defrag your registry. I'm not bragging, but I've been told by many that I have a lean, mean XP machine.
Remember, first tweak the hardware, then the BIOS and finally the OS.
Windows uninstaller, manually go through Documents, Windows and Program Files Folders amongst others deleting obsolete files and folders, Windows Disk Cleanup, Norton Cleansweep Fast & Safe, AE Cleandisk 2002 (freeware), JV16 Powertools (freeware version), Ashampoo WinOptimizer 2000, Adaware (freeware), Spybot (freeware), AnalogX Dll Archive (freeware), Norton Speed disk. I do all this in the order specified. And no, I don't do this often. Most of my temp files on Ramdisk (freeware) which is really handy.
I use ashampoo uninstaller. I also use windows uninstaller, clean sweep if I have to remove aol when it needs to be reinstalled or reg cleaner has a great uninstaller in it. Failing that use the uninstaller in the programs folder.
If everything is corrupt and won't uninstall I use Nortons Clean sweep, in my view the best removal tool. Then search reg for left-overs using Registrar Lite to remove all I can so I won't get problems when trying to reinstall an application.
Here is my little compulsive method.
1. Add/Romove programs in control panel (uninstall)
2. open up windows explorer and manually delete any leftovers which there usually is. (sometimes you haved to reboot before you can delete stubborn duplicate .dll files)
3. Go to Search and type in the program in whatever drive it was in and often it will come up with leftover .exe files in \WINDOWS\Prefetch..
4. Then I run Window Washer
5. And finally I run RegCleaner 4.3 to delete any program leftover here and registry keys.
(I have found that jv16 was overly effective as it had deleted a registry file that was running an active program. I've never hesitated with RegCleaner 4.3 and seems still very effective although Jouni is no longer providing updates. I believe RegCleaner just became jv16 as they both were basicly the same program.)