Windows

How do I ... use the Windows XP Installer Clean Up Utility to remove apps?

If you are having trouble uninstalling an application using Windows XP, the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility may be able to help. Greg Shultz shows you how it works.

If you are not able to remove or uninstall an application in Windows XP using either the Uninstall option or the Add/Remove Programs tool, you could try using the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility. As long as you installed the application using the Windows Installer, this utility will remove all the of the installation files from the system. You can then re-run the installation procedure again. After that you should be able to able to remove or uninstall an application in Windows XP using either the Uninstall option or the Add/Remove Programs tool.

Here's how:

  1. Download the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility from the Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Run the msicuu2.exe file you downloaded to install the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility.
  3. Locate and launch the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility on the Start menu.
  4. From the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility window, locate the application in the list you want to remove and click the Remove button.
  5. Once the application's installation files have been removed, click the Exit button to close the utility.

The application's corrupted installation files  should now be completely removed from your Windows XP system and you can proceed with reinstalling your application and then uninstalling it.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

36 comments
Syl T
Syl T

How do I delete an email address that still shows up when I type in the "to:" button even though I deleted it out of my contact list?

alvin.galang
alvin.galang

if the app is still on my Add/Remove programs list, can I use this utility to always Uninstall my apps? Thanks.

sdpace
sdpace

Total Uninstall works great- goes all the way. Like all uninstall programs - it does take a little time to get use to using it.

aleguiroar
aleguiroar

The best uninstaller for me which I am successfully using for many year is 'Ashampoo Uninstaller" in their versions 1.1.0 (for slow PCs) and 2.90 for new PCs (I don't like v3). Nevertheless you mut get used to it and be careful when you are new to it.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

A great utility for clean up, it finds anything on the HD it seems and then scours for related files, registry entries etc. I find it really useful as I don't need a reg cleaner as often because Your Uninstaller does a great job of cleaning it out with each uninstall. http://www.ursoftware.com/

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

I have used the MS Windows Installer CleanUp Utility ever since it was released and I have not seen where it removes program directories or all the registry keys for that program. It is meant as a tool to remove Windows Installer information only. That is, the program's information in InstallShield Installation Information (default - C\Program Files\InstallShield Installation Information), Installer registry entries (HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall) and the program's listing in Add/Remove Programs. I use it when errors occur while attempting to uninstall using the program's uninstall utility or Add/Remove Programs. After running the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility, it is then necessary to manually remove program directories and registry keys. The utility is not meant to be a substitute for Add/Remove Programs. It is a handy tool to use when you have trouble reinstalling or updating a program where a "No Valid Installation Source Found" type error occurs. .

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

This tip from Greg Shultz was originally published a few years ago. Are there still badly behaving applications out there that you find difficult to remove, other than malware of course?

thaeadran
thaeadran

I personally used the Microsoft Uninstaller to fix some issues with poorly written HP printer drivers. It worked well. Since then though, I use the Uninstaller feature in CCleaner. Hasn't let me down yet.

Chug
Chug

Directly from the MS Knowledge Base article that this TechRepublic article points to... "Be aware that Windows Installer CleanUp Utility will not remove the actual program from your computer. However, it will remove the installation files so that you can start the installation, upgrade, or uninstall over."

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Your Uninstaller - Posted below It first looks for the programs uninstaller, if found it runs it and then scans the registry and directories for left overs. If it doesn't find the Windows Uninstaller, it will manually scan the system for any related files, delete them and then scan the reg for the same. I find it excellent, cleans up th ereg and orphaned directories perfectly. http://www.ursoftware.com/

bgfores
bgfores

Hi does anyone know how one can add applications for removal to the uninstaller? Thank for any assistance.

dougm60
dougm60

I like the fact you can do a select all. Remove windows completely!!

Snak
Snak

was that it looked good - it lists far more programs than add/remove does. This looked great until I realised that actually, no, it doesn't list a good number of programs I have on my machine. In fact, by the time you've realised that the top 19 entries are Adobe Reader and Dreamweaver, and that, actually only 12 uninstallations are possible (on my machine) out of 40 installed programs, you've already started to uninstall it again. Sorry.

rcb9b
rcb9b

In answer to your question, I cannot remove the Dell Support program from my computer using Add/Remove programs, I run Windows XP. Whenever I log off Windows, I get the End Now message because of the program.

ranchito
ranchito

Have tried in vain to get rid of the Sygate Firewall - no way! This Cleanup Utility made short thrift of it in seconds!

jdclyde
jdclyde

is far from sweet. I have made a lot of money in the last two years "fixing" computers that people thought were old junk that had to be thrown away. The problem? McAfee security suite was such a hog, 75% of the resources were gone just turning the system on. At times, I had to go into safe mode, kill the process, and then remove it. It wouldn't ALLOW you to uninstall it while it was running, and it wouldn't ALLOW you to stop it from running. X-(

mmoran
mmoran

... is a needlessly redundant phrase, in my experience ;>)

Angel_Tech
Angel_Tech

that's all it does.. it;s not really an uninstaller for software... i use revo and ccleaner :)

BrewBaker
BrewBaker

What did you think you were doing Dave? You cannot get rid of me that easily, Dave.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

What a bloated pile of crap. What's funny is most people running common retail boxes get it preinstalled and then subscribe when it runs out after 30 days. They then complain that Vista is slow and bloated, when the problem lies with Norton (or McAffee) being unresourceful and bloated most of the time.

mcvayale
mcvayale

Thought I'd get the whole software package but it created a virus with the continuous pop ups and warnings, almost like these anti virus viruses. Uninstalled and installed basic drivers and it works fine now.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Their software and drivers can be hundreds of MB's to download. I think the software for the 5600 series is something like 400 MB. Nice!

steveschwab
steveschwab

Man how many times have I struggled with HP printer drivers? How many times have I watched windows try to shut down but hang up on an HP application? How many times have I waited while I download a huge file with all the HP applications when I only wanted the drivers? I just bought a wide format HP Inkjet 2800 and they still don't have Vista drivers for it. It took them 2 years to publish Vista drivers for my 1022n Laserjet. I could go on and on.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

HP makes the worst printer drivers and software on the planet...hands down.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Either one works for me, cost is irrelevant to me when I can get it free to play with. I just go with whatever does the job, with the exception of the windows uninstaller.

kctobyjoe
kctobyjoe

get AVG; never missed a thing using it AND NEWEGG has a 2 year version for $19.99 ALL norton poducts are notorious when U attempt to uninstall. the WORST!

Bgcooley
Bgcooley

McAfee in my opinion is a pretty good security program. It does in fact detect virus and trojans etc... But the problem I had with it was when it detected a virus you would acknowledge it by clicking the "ok" button or the containment button only to have it continue to sound its alarm. I could never get it to shut off unless I rebooted my system, everytime. Every version of McAfee I've had did the same thing which was kind of annoying. Just a small glitch, you would think McAfee would correct that little problem. Especially if your right in the middle of a project and your not albe to save your work. You reboot and you would end up loosing it all. Well thats my 2 cents on McAfee.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Grant it I've been in IT for 10+ years, but I haven't had a single instance on any of my PC's for years. #1 Don't surf porn #2 Keep everything up to date #3 Install AV suite #4 Don't open emails from people you don't know #5 Don't surf unknown or not trusted sites I think this whole negative perception of Windows is so overblown. With due care and diligence, Windows can be made perfectly safe. And, if anything, the Linux world's lack of awareness (just assuming they're safe because it's Linux or a Mac for that matter) makes you less secure.

FXEF
FXEF

If you choose to run Windows just expect to deal with issues that are being described here. It's just part of the wonderful Windows experience! Personally I choose to run Linux on my box, however I have to deal with Windows daily.

RNR1995
RNR1995

Hello and just an FYI The latest version of Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.4 (DEC 08) works well and does not have the resource issue, it finds more stuff than NOD32, but still not all the malware, I do not think anything does, even though MBAM is looking good! But I must say that the original release was so bad we never deployed it anywhere. This version has been on my test network since its release and is amazing. It actually takes LESS resources than version 10x. People are getting nailed with a lot of malware lately, nothing seems to stop it. The weirdest one I have just come across is a file called m.exe and it reports itself to be from Skype, it will jump to your USB drive and infect the next PC that the drive goes into.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Between Symantec (retail) and Symantec enterprise. Enterprise is much leaner and less resource heavy. Although, the changes from Symantec 10.x to 11.x were for the worst. Symantec 10.x was strictly AV. 11.x is a suite and much more resource heavy yet still much better than the retail versions.

jdclyde
jdclyde

most people I have seen do NOT subscribe after the trial period because it keeps running, right? :0 The majority I have seen never did the subscribe and STILL thought they were protected. The worst (best) was a nice older lady (friend of my moms, a golfing buddy) that picked up a virus infection. Not only had she NOT done the subscription, but when I asked her if she ever did the windows updates her reply was "no, I like this version of windows, so wanted to stay with it." :0 Gawds of us all, after the shock wore off of what she had said, it took everything I had not to laugh out loud. :D

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