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How to Manually Remove Programs from the Add Remove Programs List

By on July 12, 2004 | Last Updated: November 25, 2013 | Read 92,366 times.
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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Removing entries in the Add/Remove Programs List
  3. Conclusion

Introduction

Let's admit it, we have all at one time or another mistakenly deleted a directory or uninstalled a program incorrectly and are now left with entries in the Add/Remove Programs list for programs that no longer exist on our hard drives. When you click on these entries to remove them, Windows complains with an error or nothing happens. For some of the neat freaks out there, this can cause a problem as we now have useless entries cluttering up our Add/Remove Programs list and no way to remove them!

That's not true, though. There are ways to remove these entries from our computer so that our Add/Remove Programs list looks clean and spotless. In this tutorial we will cover a method on removing entries for programs that no longer exist on your computer. This method does require editing the registry, which if done improperly, can cause problems with your computer. If this is something that you do not feel comfortable doing, then please do not continue with the steps listed here. You are always welcome to ask us in the computer help forums. for any help with this. A list of entries that can be found in your Add or Remove Programs list can be found in our searchable Uninstall Database.

 

Removing entries in the Add/Remove Programs or Uninstall Programs List

Please note that this method should only be used if you can not uninstall the program normally through the Add/Remove Programs window. You should always attempt to delete the program through a supplied uninstall application or by using the Add/Remove Programs.

If you still can not uninstall the program, you may manually remove entries from your Add/Remove programs list by following these steps:

  1. Click Start, then click on Run and type regedit in the Open field. Then press enter on your keyboard.
     
  2. Navigate to the Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. You do this by clicking on the plus sign next to each key in the path to expand the path below it. For example you will click on the plus next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, and finally Uninstall.
     
  3. Right click on the the Uninstall key and select the Export option. (If you are using Win98/95/ME, you should clik on the Registry menu and then select Export). This will open up a dialog box where you can select a directory and name for the file you will export to. Make the Save in: field set to your Desktop and in the File name: field enter uninstall_programs and press the Save button. This will create a backup of your Uninstall registry key on your desktop in case of a problem.
     
  4. Now that we have a backup created, we will proceed with deleting the entries for the programs that we would no longer like to appear in your Add/Remove Programs list. As long as the Uninstall key is expanded you will see below it a listing of programs. Search for the program you would no longer like to appear in the Add/Remove Programs list and right click on the name of the program and then click on the Delete key. When it asks for confirmation, click on the Yes key.
     
  5. Once the key is deleted, exit regedit, go back into your Add/Remove Programs option in the Control Panel and see if the program is now gone from the listing. If it is not listed, then you have deleted the entry from the Registry correctly. If on the other hand, the listing looks incorrect you can restore the backup you created by double-clicking on the uninstall_programs.reg icon found in your desktop. When it prompts you if you would like to merge the contents, you would reply Yes. Then you should repeat steps 1 through 5 to remove the desired program.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to keep your Add/Remove programs list clean and tidy, there is no excuse for it not being so :)

As always if you have any questions about this process, feel free to let us know in the computer help forums.

 

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