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How to uninstall programs that cannot be uninstalled


Posted Date: 13-Aug-2010  Last Updated:   Category: Tips & Tricks    
Author: Member Level: Diamond    Points: 31


Some times it is possible that you install a program in your computer and want to uninstall it. But when you try to uninstall it by using Add/Remove tool, it may not be possible to do it. In this article I will explain how to forcefully uninstall a program which cannot be uninstalled in normal way.



How to uninstall programs that cannot be uninstalled


Most of you might have faced this kind of problem. You install a program in your Windows 7 computer. When you do not like it or do not want it any more after few days, you want to uninstall it. You will see that it is not possible to uninstall that program even though you click on 'Uninstall' link. Then what will you do?

If this is the problem in your computer, then this article is for you. I will explain how to forcefully uninstall a program that cannot be uninstalled.

When you install a program in your Windows 7 computer, some of the files related to that program are copied into the folder related to that program in your Windows 7 computer. The common files like DLL files are also copied if required. Once the files are copied into your computer, and the program ins installed in your computer, some changes to the Windows Registry are made by the installer. The Windows Add/Remove tool searches for this entry in Windows Registry to check for installed programs. All the changes made to the Registry are logged into a file which is also stored in the folder related to the program. This will be useful for the uninstaller to uninstall the program at a later date. Whenever you want to uninstall the program, the uninstaller checks the log file for the changes made during installation and undoes the changes. The uninstaller then removes the copied files and removes the entries in the Registry.

Suppose the log file is not there in the application folder, then it would be very difficult for the uninstaller to uninstall the program. Then what is the way to uninstall a program if you face this kind of problem.

Performing a force uninstall of a program


If you know how to work with Windows Registry, it is possible to manually uninstall a program. This method of uninstalling a program using Registry is suggested only for an advanced user. If you are not sure of managing Registry, please do not try to attempt this trick. Let us see how this can be done.

  • First you need to open Registry editor. You can do this by clicking on Start and then type 'Run' in the search box. Click on 'Run' in the list that comes out. Otherwise you can even Press 'Win + R' key combinations.

  • Now type 'Regedit' and Press on Enter button.

  • Now the Registry Editor window opens up. On the left side of Registry settings, go to the following.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

    You will see a lot of keys which are related to different programs that you installed in your computer. some of these keys are named after the name of the program while others are combination of numbers and letters. Search these keys until you will find the one that has the key DisplayName(on the right hand side) with the name of the program in it.

  • Check for the key UninstallString - this is the key that points to the uninstall program.

  • Now if you delete the key in which you find DisplayName key with the value equal to the program name that you want to uninstall, then it will not appear on the list of programs to be uninstalled.

    Some times the program may create a new entry in the Registry to save the configuraqtion options. You can see these entries in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software or in HKEY_NACHINE\Software. You can check for the program name or the name of the company which made this software.

    Now you need to find all the files which were copied during the installation of the program. You have to open the folder in which there is uninstall program is there. and check for the files which are named as uninstall.log or setup.log. You can see the list of files in this file. You can open this file using notepad and see the list of files that were copied during the installation. Delete all the listed files and you will see that the program is uninstalled fully.


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