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Program Ghosts

Thursday, November 11th, 2004 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

I deleted a program but it still shows up on my Add/Remove Programs list. How can I get rid of it?

I get this ghost story all the time. The program is gone, but its entry is still there. Who you gonna call?


When that happens, most people click the program, hit the Add / Remove button and end up with an error. And the program is still stuck on the list. It may have been removed from your computer, but its ghost seems determined to stay on.

So, is the program listing there forever? Can you ever get rid of it?

YES – but you have to play around in your system registry.

Before we go any farther, I want to say that messing with your registry is not for everyone and should only be attempted by advanced users. If any of the information below doesn’t make sense to you, it’s probably NOT a good idea for you to be trying this tip. So, do this only at your own risk. If something gets messed up, I don’t wanna hear about it :-)

Also, it’s a good idea to back up your registry before proceeding. See today’s tip to find out how.

Here’s how to get the ghosts out of your machine:

1 . Run your registry editor by hitting the Start button, Run , Then type:


Hit Enter.


2 . Your registry editor should now be up and running. Now would be a good time to back up your registry by hitting the File menu, Export Registry . Just in case.

3 . OK, now navigate to:


4 . Under this Uninstall folder, you’ll see all the stuff that’s listed on the Add / Remove programs list. Find the folder for the program that’s stuck in your Add / Remove programs box, right-click, and select Delete from the resulting menu.


Now, go back to your Control Panel, Add / Remove programs area and you should find that extra program is now gone.


You may have already figured this out, but there’s another use for this tip. If you have a program listed in the Add / Remove programs section that you DON’T ever want uninstalled, you can delete its folder from the Uninstall folder list mentioned above. That way, you (or someone else) won’t accidentally remove it.

Oh, and don’t worry. Deleting the folder won’t remove the program, just its entry in the Add/ Remove section of the Control Panel.

~ Steve

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