What’s the best uninstaller for AOL? Results are in.

Edited 5-23-08.

All those tests I’ve written about doing to find the best software to remove AOL are finally done. Frankly, I’m a little surprised at the results.

Results: Just keep on using the same old programs to remove AOL.

You’d think I could do better than that, and I tried because I love how so many of you want to find the best ways to remove AOL, but I couldn’t come up with anything niftier than my current methods (well, I did find one Honorable Mention) – blame it on lack of better technology.

Honorable Mention: AOLCleanup2

I gave AOLCleanup2 (direct download link) a whirl during my testing. I tried it because the author claimed it could remove quite a few versions of AOL. It’s a simple batch file that works fast to get the job done. In my tests it worked great on Vista, but didn’t work at all on XP. I still give it an Honorable Mention as one of the Greatest AOL Removal Tools of All Time.

The Losers

I tested Revo Uninstaller out of sheer curiosity – the fact that it claims to uninstall unwanted programs and remove any files, folders, and registry entries leftover from them intrigued me. A program like that would be the most efficient way to remove AOL – if it actually worked. In my tests it removed only three-quarters of AOL’s registry entries and
just one AOL folder – and not even a hard-to-find folder at that.

Using it meant skipping the required restart to finish removing AOL, which made me uneasy. Also, this program exposes the entire registry to your editing abilities (however good or bad they are) so using it was like trying not to drop cryptonite. It was terrifying to think how easily you could remove your entire registry with it. Not to mention the GUI is so sloppy it could befuddle Einstein.

To round out my experiment I tested some other…well, for lack of a better word…crap that’s not worth mentioning, but let me say this: please don’t waste your time on Absolute Uninstaller or any version of jv16 PT except for the versions I show you how to use on this blog – it’s as simple as that.

The Winners *yawn* are, as usual…

CCleaner and jv16 PowerTools (each link will bring you to my corresponding how-to pages).

The only news to come out of a week of destroying my dual-booting 2002 eMachines for the sole benefit of the quitting-AOL crowd is this: I proved to myself that jv16 PT is best for use on XP, and CCleaner is best for use on Vista or XP. I’ve updated both tutorials to reflect that hard-won bit of wisdom.

I also learned that on Vista you should remove AOL with CCleaner first, then use jv16 PT to remove any leftover AOL registry entries. It’s the only way to get AOL out of Vista’s registry without hand-editing it, so I definitely suggest my savvier, more time-pressed readers try it.

I may update in the next few weeks – forget what I wrote last night about that – I was in a bad mood since I was so pressed for time (thanks for your emails, “Silo” and Jerry – and yes, Jerry, I do have a thing for parentheses; sorry if it made the first version of this post a bit hard to read).