Remove software leftovers on Windows 10 [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
4 Comments
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

  • As PC users, we install and uninstall programs all the time. And the Control Panel should normally suffice for the latter.
  • But what if it doesn't? Here are the most commonly used methods for completely removing software leftovers.
  • To avoid PC performance issues you might also want to delete junk files that clutter your disk.
  • Explore our Removal Guides for more useful tools, and recommendations to keep your PC clean and snappy.
remove software leftovers

It’s a common practice for all computer users to install software programs regularly. As you know, whenever you install a piece of software, it creates files on the hard drive and usually adds registry entries to work efficiently.

As long as you are using the program and don’t forget about it, it’s perfectly fine.

Now, the problem comes when you opt to uninstall it because the program might not completely remove itself from your PC. That’s where software leftovers come into play.

To remove a program in Windows, we normally uninstall it from the Control Panel. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always completely eliminate it. As a result, your system continues to accumulate unused files that take up space.

Entries for the old programs can also remain in the Registry, which cuts back on the performance of your machine. These leftovers may not pose a major threat. But they tend to slow down your PC, so there is no point in keeping them.

Fortunately, there are various methods that can help you get rid of these leftovers.

In this guide, we are going to discuss the most commonly used methods for completely removing software leftovers.

How can I completely remove programs on Windows 10?

1. Use third-party software to remove software leftovers

Revo Uninstaller Pro

Revo Uninstaller Pro is a premium program that delivers all the features you need to effectively remove software leftovers. The Uninstaller tool lists all the installed programs and components for all users and current accounts.

With a context menu and a choice of view, you can see all the information in one place. This includes registry entries, program properties, and links to the manufacturer’s website.

Revo Uninstaller Pro uses advanced algorithms that are fast, precise, and effective in searching for leftovers of Windows services, file extensions, drivers, program settings, and more. And for your convenience, a portable version is available.

Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller

Remove any software from your PC safely and completely with this professional tool!

IObit Uninstaller

IObit Uninstaller is a fast cleaner for your computer that works its magic on any unwanted programs, Windows apps, and plug-ins. It provides a simplified uninstall and auto leftover scan to ensure thorough removal.

Below you can read the most important features of this software:

  • Removes unwanted programs to free up disk space and boost the PC’s overall performance
  • Detect all malicious programs including adware in real time, and it allows you to get rid of them easily
  • Automatically remove all remnants of programs
  • Removes stubborn leftover files that cannot be deleted by other uninstallers
  • Updates all your software
  • Monitors all system changes while a program is being installed
IObit Uninstaller

IObit Uninstaller

Remove stubborn leftovers and wipe your Windows 10 device clean with the most powerful uninstaller tool.

2. Manually remove the software leftovers

This method is convenient as it doesn’t involve installations of third-party applications. Basically, you are manually cleaning entries from the Registry.

Nonetheless, care should be taken. A small mistake here might adversely affect the functioning of your machine.

Note: It’s important to do a backup before deleting anything from the Windows registry so that if something goes wrong, you can restore the system to its earlier state.

To do a backup, right-click on the key you want to delete and select Export. It will save a REG file with the backup of that key.


Not sold on the backup idea? We got your back: here’s how to restore Windows 10 Registry without backup!


2.1 Uninstall software using Control Panel

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Double-click on Programs
  3. Choose the program you want to uninstall and click on the Uninstall button. This will remove the program.

uninstall software remove software leftovers


Control Panel won’t open on Windows 10? Take a look at this step-by-step guide to find the solution.


2.2 Delete the remaining files and folders

appdata roaming delete remove software leftovers

Even though you have successfully uninstalled the program, some file fragments may be left in a few system folders.

To remove them, you’ll need to check the program files and app data. Check the following folders for leftovers.

  • %programfiles%
  • %appdata%

Just type the above text one at a time in the search box and press enter. This will open the folders directly. If you find any folder with the name of the program you just uninstalled, delete it.


Unable to delete all your junk files? Follow this Disk Cleanup guide and rescue your drive.


2.3 Remove software keys from the Windows Registry

  1. Open the Start menu, type regedit in the search box and press ENTER. It will launch the Registry Editor.
  2. Type the following keys one by one:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE
    • HKEY_USERS.DEFAULTSoftware
  3. Look for a key with the name of the program you just removed. If you find a key, delete it. You can also use CTRL+F to search for such keys.registry editor remove software leftovers

You will need to be very careful when performing this procedure. When you uninstall a software program, in most cases, the uninstaller does not remove the program from the Windows Registry.

This increases the Windows Registry size. To completely remove the software, you need to remove its key from the Windows Registry.


If you can’t access Registry Editor, check out this guide and solve the issue quickly.


2.4 Empty Temp Folder

The final step is to clean the Temp folder. This is the folder that contains all the temporary files and cleaning it is safe. To empty the folder, open the Start menu and type the following commands one by one:

  • %temp%
  • temp

This will open the Temp folders. You can now empty them. If the system displays an error message when deleting some files, leave them. The files might be in use by Windows services or some running software.

how to uninstall software leftovers temp files

After following all the steps above, you will be able to completely uninstall a program without leaving a trace on your machine.


Can’t delete the temporary files? We’ve got the best solutions.


3. Use Absolute Uninstaller (Freeware)

absolute uninstaller remove software leftovers

Absolute Uninstaller is an enhanced tool for Windows that you can use to remove all the software leftovers. Consequently, the program can wipe off all the junk files in seconds after uninstalling the software.

Absolute Uninstaller offers a more user-friendly way to remove software leftovers and improve your computer efficiency. What’s more, Absolute Uninstaller supports batch uninstall. This means you can even remove multiple applications in just a single click.

It also allows you to make backups so you will never lose important programs in case of mistakes.

Get Absolute Uninstaller from GlarySoft

GlarySoft also has a very useful Registry repair tool to scan computers, clean registry junks, and fix registry errors.

It performs comprehensive and deep analysis for Windows Registry. It also repairs invalid entries or references that cause computer freezing, system crashes, instability, blue screen, and PC slowdowns.

Get Registry Repair tool


4. Use GeekUninstaller (Free version)

geekuninstaller remove software leftovers

GeekUninstaller takes care of stubborn programs very well and can even uninstall programs that other programs can’t. Since the tool is portable, you can download it on a USB to help fix buggy PC’s on the go.

The tool performs deep scanning and removes all the junk files and other software leftovers. It also features an efficient user interface and instant startup. GeekUninstaller offers both clean uninstall and forced uninstall.

⇒ Get GeekUninstaller


Compared to the manual methods, third-party programs are easier, faster, and safer to use. They also come with a friendly interface that allows you to see even the registry entries as well as the link to the manufacturer’s website.

Have you used any of the methods described above? Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section below. Also, leave there any questions you may have and we’ll surely take a look.

FAQ: Learn more about registry entries:

        1. How do I remove registry entries from uninstalled programs?

Use a third-party uninstaller from the list above to remove leftovers, including registry entries left behind by programs. You can also use these tools to monitor changes in the Windows registry.

        2. How do you delete registry keys that cannot be deleted?

There are a few easy steps you can follow that fix errors while deleting registry keys.

        3. Where are my leftover files after uninstall?

The leftover files might be in the installation path, Documents, or AppData folders. To auto-delete leftovers, use the best uninstaller software.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know! You can also help us by leaving a review on MyWOT or Trustpillot.
Get the most from your tech with our daily tips
Tell us why!
  • Guys why you do recommend a paid software ,or at least you can mention that part .
    It has a free scan but if you want to solve the problem you can solve some manually ,or pay 29$ for license ,good luck for all .