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stubborn uninstalls

I have XP SP2. I can't uninstall some programs. It says there's a file missing, so it won't do the uninstall. Do I need to use the program disk to uninstall or is it a situation in a registry file?

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Some history.

In reply to: stubborn uninstalls


1. The article [Q310587] states that when you view the list of installed programs in the Add/Remove Programs tool, you may see one or more programs listed that have already been removed from your computer. Alternatively, when you remove a program using the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel, you may receive the following error message which can occur if you have already manually deleted a program that is listed in the Install/Uninstall list. This article describes two methods for correcting the problem:

An error occurred while trying to remove Program_name. Uninstallation has been canceled

2. The Control Panel applet dialogue in the Add/Remove Programs applet simply lists programs installed which were designed with a Windows-compatible uninstall feature built-in. Some programs add a reference to their uninstaller in the Add/Remove Programs list (this is part of the requirement for a 32-bit aware program to have the official Microsoft "Windows Logo" on their packaging), some simply provide a shortcut in the Start Menu without doing this and particulararly those which does not have the logo but some do both. If an Uninstall feature is not listed in the Add/Remove Programs section then check for any Readme type files in the program's folder which may explain their process. The important questions IMO,:

Note: Logos (click to see an example screenshot):

? "Indicates that this product has met all Windows Logo requirements"
? "Indicates that this product has met all Windows Logo requirements and that a driver is available for download"
? "Indicates that this product has met all Windows Logo requirements and that a driver is available on the Windows XP Professional operating system CD"
? "Indicates that this product might not meet all Windows Logo requirements, but has been deemed compatible with the operating system"

a. Even when an Uninstall feature is added in the Add/Remove Programs listing and an icon exist somewhere else which an installation wizard for that program added, did the author of that program ensure that when a user uses either, his uninstall wizard will clean not only the system but also that listing from the Add/Remove Programs list or could Windows perhaps circumvent it regardless of whether he did or not.

b. If you want to know, I delete every uninstall icon I find added for a program once I've determined it has/was added in the listing in the applet dialogue, Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

3. We know however that uninstalling isn't a clean removal:

a. When a program is uninstall under Windows, the uninstaller wizard (written by the author of the program) removes all the program files and registry entries associated with the application usually. It may also remove shared DLL's, but only if the application being removed is the last application registered for that DLL. Normally uninstall wizards do NOT remove:

? program-specific configuration files (usually an x.INI) and could be located anywhere, so use the find function to locate them

? data files

? custom files (eg: custom dictionaries)

b. Because of items such as those above, you'll find many folders outstanding in the "My Computer" or "Explorer" tree where the parent folder existed. The purpose is to allow people to reinstall an application and retain their existing customization(s) - rather than have to spend hours and hours getting things back in an acceptable way.

c. "You Cannot Reinstall a Program with the Add/Remove Programs Tool (Q304745)."

d. Check the hard drive and find whether there are any remnants of the program in question. If found, simply select and remove everything. Please note, this procedure may require Windows XP be reinstalled from within Windows XP and can be accomplished as follows:

(1) Start the computer and insert the correct Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.

(2) On the Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP page that appears, click Install Windows XP.

(3) On the Welcome to Windows Setup page, click Upgrade (Recommended) in the Installation Type box (if it is not already selected), and then click Next.

(4) On the License Agreement page, click I accept this agreement, and then click Next.

(5) On the Your Product Key page, type the 25-character product key in the appropriate Product key boxes, and then click Next.

(6) On the Get Updated Setup Files page, select the option wanted, and then click Next.

(7) Follow the instructions on the remaining pages to reinstall Windows XP, [How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP (Q315341)].

e. Add/Remove Programs with WIN32-Based Applications:

(1) Windows simplifies installing applications created for Windows by providing an option in the Add/Remove Programs list to remove them later.

(2) Windows adds information about an installed application in the system registry, parameters to run an uninstall process, and which files to delete when removing the application from the computer. For example, the following registry key is nothing more than a subkey uninstall with a "value not set of Default" in the right window. All programs listed in the "Add/Remove Programs" menu are listed under this key by name and with the appropriate uninstall entry in the right window.

Hint: If you don't like a name recorded in "Add/Remove Programs" for an application, simply change or remove it by using "TweakUI."


f. In the event there is a problem removing a listed program, a program is not listed or there is subsequent reinstallation problems, it may become necessary to edit the system registry and remove the product ID before the process is successful:

(1) Click Start, Run, type regedit, and then press Enter.

(2) HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Note: Click the Plus box in front of HKLM to expand it and continue clicking/expanding appropriate folders (each word preceded by a backslash in the above address) until reaching the last, "Uninstall".

(3) Under the Uninstall key will be a list of products by CLSID. Click the product ID number and then double-click DisplayName to see the associated product. Close this dialogue box and continue until the product being sought is found. Close the dialogue.

(4) With the correctly selected product ID bolded/highlighted, press the Delete key on the keypad, and respond with an afirmative that the information is to be removed.

(5) Click Registry in the main menu and select Exit to save the session. Or simply click the x in the URHC of the window to close the Registry Editor tool. Respond with an affirmative to save the editing and to close the editor if asked.

g. Removing Applications:

(1) If you installed applications which were designed for Windows, you can use either the Add/Remove Programs menu or run an uninstall executable from the folder where it resides - when provided. Because the application's components are tracked through the Registry an uninstall wizard (as provided by the publisher) removes all of the entries and then the application removes the program files.

(2) Shared files are retained in most cases (#3a above).

h. Bottom Line: We are, in many instances, caught between the preverbal hard place and a rock sometimes. Either because an applicable became corrupt or caused corruption in itself or for some strange reason, a corruption somewhere in the computer system causes the uninstall feature to cease functioning. In such cases, reinstall the applicable application to see if the process then works.

4. Supplemental reading:

a. "Links to Programs You Uninstalled from Windows XP Still Appear in Windows 98 Second Edition Start Menu (Q286730)."

b. "How to Add a Control Panel Tool to a Category (Q292463)."

c. "Removing Invalid Entries in the Add/Remove Programs Tool (Q310750)."
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Re: stubborn uninstalls

In reply to: stubborn uninstalls

Besides CursorCowboy's post, they also could be spyware programs. What programs are they?

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