Norton Uninstall Deluxe is the latest release of the popular application removal utility from Symantec under Peter Norton’s name. Designed for both Windows NT and Windows 95 machines, Norton Uninstall Deluxe is intended to allow a more complete removal of applications from your system than the standard Add/Remove Programs applet.

To add value to the package, Symantec bundles even more into the software. It can be used to save existing application configuration information for movement to another machine, effectively allowing cloning of devices. Norton Uninstall Deluxe also allows you to compress existing applications that are seldom used, but that need to remain on your hard drives “just in case”. Moving applications from one directory to another is also easier with Norton Uninstall Deluxe, the utility automatically updating paths and registry entries for you. Finally, Norton Uninstall Deluxe can scan the Windows Registry and perform a cleanup of orphaned registered applications.

The reason most people will buy Norton Uninstall Deluxe is for its uninstall capabilities. We’ve all installed applications then tried to remove them with the Windows-included applet only to find entire directories of files that must be manually deleted. Often, the Add/Remove applet won’t even clean up the Registry properly. Norton Uninstall Deluxe solves most of these problems for you.

Ideally, Norton Uninstall Deluxe would be installed as the first application on a new machine. Whenever new software is loaded and Norton Uninstall Deluxe is active, there is a much better chance of completely removing the application since Norton Uninstall Deluxe maintains a list of all changes to the system. When you remove software, Norton Uninstall Deluxe can rebuild the system files, driver lists, and registry entries as they were prior to installing that software. This approach ensures that all traces of the application (at least in the operating system) are removed. Norton Uninstall Deluxe can also be used with applications that are already installed, although in some cases it doesn’t do quite as good a job of total removal.

Installation of Norton Uninstall Deluxe takes only a minute from the CD-ROM. The software requires 10MB of disk space, and 16MB RAM minimum for Windows NT. It will run on any machine that runs Windows NT or Windows 95, although a Pentium is really required for reasonable performance. Updates to Norton Uninstall Deluxe can be downloaded from the Symantec Web site using a Live Update option embedded in the software.

When launched for the first time, Norton Uninstall Deluxe scans the entire hard disk and builds a list of files and applications. This scanning process took about ten minutes on our test system. The main Norton Uninstall Deluxe interface is visually different from most Windows applications, and quite attractive. From the main window, you can launch any of the options such as uninstalling an application, scanning a disk, or checking the Registry. An important component of Norton Uninstall Deluxe is the System Monitor, which runs in background all the time. The System Monitor records all changes to the system, and can monitor modifications to system files allowing for easier uninstall.

To test Norton Uninstall Deluxe, we installed it on a dual-processor ALR Revolution 2XL machine running Windows NT 4.0 Server. Starting from a clean operating system install, we loaded Norton Uninstall Deluxe and then a full suite of applications, games, and devices. We removed some applications with Norton Uninstall Deluxe. Others we removed manually by deleting directories or files, then let Norton Uninstall Deluxe try to clean up the mess we caused. In every case, Norton Uninstall Deluxe did an excellent job of rebuilding our system. When used to remove applications, Norton Uninstall Deluxe did a remarkable job of deleting all traces of files and directories, as well as any device drivers, configuration file modifications, and Registry entries. In some cases an orphan file or registry line was left, but these usually were shared items. When we manually deleted applications, Norton Uninstall Deluxe did a pretty good job of finishing the task for us. Registry entries were almost always properly updated, although there were often files or directories left over that had to be manually deleted. Overall, though, Norton Uninstall Deluxe did a much better job than the Add/Remove applet.

We did find one interesting way of using Norton Uninstall Deluxe on our test system. Since we often load software for a limited time period for review, such as a couple of weeks, we usually have huge chunks of disk space filled with files from applications long ago deleted. Registries get clogged and awkward. Frequently, we have simply reloaded Windows NT from scratch to solve these problems, but Norton Uninstall Deluxe gave us the ability to easily remove applications after a test period (it works well on games, too, but we don’t play that many‚Ķreally!).

The little extras included with Norton Uninstall Deluxe make it more than a simple installation tool. We really liked the ability to easily move applications around among disks and directories, not worrying about paths and configuration files. As one disk would fill up, we could move applications to another with a minimum of fuss. A utility for automatic backup saves a compressed copy of each deletion a user makes, much like the Undelete feature in Norton Utilities, allowing rapid restoration. Finally, the AutoClean utility can scan your hard disk for specific types of files (such as .tmp and browser cache files) and remove them at intervals, freeing up disk space that often never gets cleared.

Norton Uninstall Deluxe is a relatively inexpensive package, with a suggested retail price just under $40. Considering the features it offers, Norton Uninstall Deluxe is well worth the investment. Installed on a server, it can save an administrator’s bacon many times. And users of Windows 95 and Windows NT Workstation will find it ideal for removing all traces of applications no longer wanted. The Registry clean-up utility alone is probably worth the money. Simply put, this is an excellent piece of software and worth every penny.

Norton Uninstall Deluxe
$39.95
Symantec
10201 Torre Avenue
Cupertino
CA 95014
http://www.symantec.com