Find us on Google+ Microsoft Windows Uninstaller - There's always another way. ~ Inventor Tales

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Microsoft Windows Uninstaller - There's always another way.

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

Emo Philips

So this isn't really an Inventor, Showcase, or Vault tip. But it's an issue I've run into a few times, and it's definitely worth mentioning.

Every once in a great while, a Windows program doesn't install, or uninstall correctly.

Okay, the 'virtual peanut gallery'' will probably say 'Jon, that's every time you uninstall a Windows program'.

But what I really mean is, something goes screwy. I mean that you can't install the program because Windows thinks that the program is already installed, but you can't uninstall it because it doesn't show up in the control panel.

Now what?

Well, there are things like using Windows restore points, but let's be honest. But have you used one of those recently?

If the answer for you is 'yes'. Congrats. Pat yourself on the back.

If the answer is 'no'. Welcome to the club, my name is Jon, I'm a charter member. Look me up when you arrive.

That's right, I'm as guilty as anyone.

There's also the 'scorched earth' approach, where you completely format your computer, and reinstall everything.

This can be fun in a 'geeking out' sort of way. It also gets rid of any other 'nasty bits' that could be lurking in your computer. But, it's also time consuming.

But, (eyes dart back and forth quickly), there's another way....

Microsoft issued a little program called Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. You can download it from Microsoft's site by following the link HERE.

Just download and install.

Welcome to potential computer salvation
(click to enlarge)

Next, run the program. It'll show up in your Windows Programs list as Windows

The utility in the Startup window
(click to enlarge)

The program starts, and you'll see a list of all the programs that Windows sees. Many times, the programs that don't show up in the control panel will appear in this window.

Who's the culprit?
(click to enlarge)

Pick your program, uninstall, and now you can try to install again if you need to.

Of course with anything, there are disclaimers. There has to be.

  1. Don't use this instead of the standard uninstall practices. This is only for when the standard methods fail.
  2. Is the program going to fix every install/uninstall issue you're going to encounter? No. Sometimes, it really is that bad, and you may have to try that aforementioned 'scorched earth' policy.

That being said, this utility HAS saved me from having to get more drastic in the past. And this has been a blessing when a reinstall means several hours moving data around and getting a system back up to speed.

So in that sense, I've come to view it as my snowboarding helmet. It only had to save me once to be worth it!

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