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Windows XP add/remove programs missing change/remove button

By asmith ·

I know this is an old issue but had this problem today on an old XP laptop and whilst looking for the solution I found the web based information to be lacking.

I found the fix myself in the end so thought I would share!

My scenario was that whilst cleaning up a customer laptop I lost the option to uninstall any software from within the add/remove programs applet.

I cecked the registry where this information was held (hkey-local-machine/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/uninstall) and could see this was pretty much empty. The few items that were there had the change/remove button available.

Clearly some registry corruption that would be corrected by a system restore but I didn't want to do that just yet!

I know the registry is backed up pretty regularly so I checked c:\windows\repair and sure enough there are recent backups of the registry sections. I found a SOFTWARE file that was only a few days old - this is the section of the registry I'm interested in right now.

I opened regedit, selected hkey-local-machine then went to File - Load Hive - then pointed to c:\windows\repair\software.

This prompted for a name, this can be anything, I used SWTEMP. Once this was entered the registry backup was available in regedit.

I located the uninstall folder within this and sure enough this was fully populated. I right clicked on the uninstall folder and did an export to a file on the desktop. I then selected the SWTEMP folder then went to File - Unload Hive to remove this from regedit.

Next thing was to edit registry export file and correct the registry path changing it from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SWTEMP\ to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ - I used the search and replace notepad feature to speed this along.

The final thing to do was to save the changed registry file then import it.

Hey presto - I now have the buttons back across all applications.

Hopefully most people are moving on from XP now but I hope this helps anyone who encounters this problem in the future.


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