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Uninstalling Old Programs

by morph / March 5, 2007 7:47 AM PST

Running: Win98SE, IE6; also WinXPSP2, IE7
On two different computers, I have a number of old, fairly large, no longer used programs that do not have Uninstall options and cannot be found in Add/Remove. I'm told that if I just use Delete, their code will still be left behind. How do I get rid of these programs and free up the space?
Thank you

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Have You Checked??
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 5, 2007 8:21 AM PST

I don't have a Windows 98 machine to confirm that it's the same (it may not be) but in Windows XP, navigate to the "C:\Windows\Installer" folder. Within the folder, you will see a whole bunch of files with the .msi file extension.. Hovering your mouse over each of the files, (or right click on the file, choose "Properties") will give you information about the program that was originally installed by that file. You'll have to search for a while but frequently you'll find the .msi file which pertains to the problem program. If you can find the correct.msi file for the problem programs, double click on the file and it should start the uninstaller program.. It normally gives you the option to "repair" or "remove".

Hope this helps.


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Do you have the backup systems inplace or
by acoxon1274 / March 5, 2007 9:21 AM PST

some way to restore the systems if you start having problems? If you do then before you try and rip those old programs out make a good backup of the systems as they are now. This way you can get your computer back if an un-install goes bad. None of the advice beyond this point is for a novice (if you have never done a OS reinstall, have not editted OS registry, have never formated a HDD, and you have never used a backup system with success, have never made changes in the BIOS, than do some reading first and find a firend that can help you.) You will need the OS install CD/DVD and the install codes. If you don't have these install CD/DVD and their install codes don't proceed.

The dirrect approach, you will need to do one program at a time. One way is to try and see if there is a website for the program you want to remove. Look in the help section or about menu, you may find website info that can help. If so go to the site and see if they have un-install directions. The directions may include removing registry entries. Some companies even have programs you can download that will remove their software. If you find no website links that work, you can try doing searches in forums for the program you want to remove, sometimes others have posted their removal directions. If that fails, identify the folder the progam is in and delete. This may work. Most likely you will end up with an error message. You will then need to copy it down and then do a search for a fix.

Another approach would be to format the drive and reinstall the OS and then install only the programs you want. This should also restore performance and clean out some hindden problems (Win98 always seems to have problems after a long run without a reinstall).

Well that is about it, good luck.

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Reinstall sounds good
by morph / March 5, 2007 11:13 AM PST

Thanks bus. Would gladly do a reinstall. My original Win98SE install disc has long since disappeared, but I can obtain one from a friend. Since Win98SE is no longer supported by Microsoft, how do I obtain the updates? Also, assuming the drivers will have to be reinstalled, how do I determine what drivers are needed? Ditto for the XP machine, except that updates are still available. morph

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Because you don?t have the factory restore disks
by acoxon1274 / March 5, 2007 2:13 PM PST
In reply to: Reinstall sounds good

Okay I?ll give two examples of the easy way, drives supplied by the computer manufacturer on a CD/DVD called restore disk set. One is for Win98 Compaq computer and one is for XP Gateway computer. Win98 Compaq, the computer came with a restore system disk set. You placed the first cd in the drive and then re-booted the computer. It would come up with a menu screen and you would follow the instructions. In about two hours(some where during the Win98 install it would ask you to type in the licence code) you would have your Win98 computer back to factory installed software condition (whatever was there when you got it). You would then need to uninstall the old anti-virus program and then install a new one. Most likely Macfee, which because it?s an OEM install as apposed to retail it doesn?t have an un-install function. It must be removed manually. From Macfee?s web site, instructions can be found on how to remove it and what locations in the registry need to be removed. Once that is done buy an anti-virus program or download a freeware anti-virus program and install it. Please note, some anti-virus programs require a version of IE 5 before they will install and work. If your version of Win98 has say a IE 3 you may have to get an update to IE 6 installed first (maybe use your XP computer to download a file that will install IE6, or see if someone has a Version on CD, or buy it from MS for five US dollars, it will be sent snail mail). Then go to the update page. You would type in because it has changed since Win98 was released. If that does not work you can try to use the "UNOFFICIAL Windows98 Second Edition Service Pack 2.1a (Freeware)" . That would then be a complete re-install for a Win98 Compaq computer. This example assumes that nothing went wrong.

Now let?s look at the XP Gateway computer OS re-install. The computer comes with an XP install disk and a drivers disk. Basically the same as the Compaq OS re-install but some what more controllable. The anti-virus program won?t install without your say so which saves uninstalling it so you can use the one you want. That was two ?all goes well? OS re-install examples using factory restore disk.

Because you don?t have the factory restore disks you are in for some possible trouble. You may have to write your own autoexec.bat file and config.sys file or maybe you can find the DOS backups on the computer and use them and you may have to set the BIOS boot device to the CD drive so you can load Windows or maybe you will luck out and the Win98 CD you are going to get will be able to do it all for you.

The goal here is to format the boot drive thereby cleaning out damaged software and if that goes well to restore the operating system. Before this is done you should do an inventory of what components/hardware (even at the motherboard level) and the drivers running that hardware. Then with that inventory go to the computers manufacturer?s site and see if you can download the drivers. If that fails you can try But, if you can?t get the drivers some of the OEM hardware may not work which will reduced functionality and may make the re-install of the OS and your software un-doable.

The problem is so much can go wrong that before doing this kind of re-install it is important that you make a backup of the computer before you erase/format away the files. If you can get your hands on a new or used working HDD that will work in the computer, take out the HDD that is in the computer(this HDD will be your backup) and then use the replacement HDD to see if you can get Win98 and the drivers to re-install. So if the re-install fails you could just put the original HDD back in and you would still have the computer working as it does now. I have left out some of the details and hope you can work with what is here. Good luck.

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Many old programs
by TONI H / March 5, 2007 9:11 PM PST

that don't appear in the W98 Add-Remove Programs list have their own uninstaller that shows up in various places on the computer. Since you don't have the disks to reinstall them over the top of themselves in order to perhaps get an option to uninstall from the install menu that would show up (some gave Install, Uninstall, Repair) or to reinstall them to now get the uninstaller to show up in Add-Remove Programs, try looking in the following locations:

C:/Program Files/nameofprogramhere: Look for a file called uninstall.exe or unwise.exe as either of those names are the ones normally used and click it.

C:/Windows/System32 : you might find a number of unwise.exe files located here. click one to see what program shows up...if it's the wrong program, cancel the uninstall, and go on to the next unwise.exe file. You might also find some called uninstall.exe and try the same thing with those files....and even some called uninst.exe or unwise.exe but will have sequential numbers as each one that got placed there were called the same name but windows altered the name to include a number for the file so they didn't overwrite the first one.

If the program is still listed in the Start/Programs list, the uninstall.exe or unwise.exe file might be listed there instead. This is the place I would start looking at first, then the C:/Program Files folders. Leaving the System32 folder as the last resort.

If you rarely clear out your TEMP folders (located under C: or C:/Windows), you might also find the uninstall.exe or unwise.exe file located there....but it won't tell you what program it goes to until you click it and start the uninstall...and you can cancel out of that if it's the wrong program. Many program put those files there and don't clean up after themselves very well.

If you can't locate any of them....just delete the folder from C:/Program Files as well as any shortcuts on the desktop or from the Start/Programs list and empty the recycle bin. Many older MSDOS programs never entered anything in the registry and can safely be removed this way. Any leftovers in the Registry that might still be left there can either be ignored since they are so small you would never notice them or you can download and install the MS (unsupported) old RegClean4.2 program (link below) and it will finish cleaning house for you. It still works with XP but worked much better with W98 and I always used it easily. It's automatic with no user interaction on your part.


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