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Article ID: 310750 - Last Review: December 1, 2007 - Revision: 1.6

This article was previously published under Q310750


To add, remove, or change a program on a Windows XP-based computer, use the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel. Occasionally, a program may not be removed completely and a reference to the program may remain in the Currently installed programs dialog box. If you change or remove a program, you may receive a number of messages about files that cannot be located, but are needed to complete the change or removal. This article describes how to remove these invalid entries from the Add/Remove Programs tool.


Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  ( ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

The following steps remove only the registry entries related to a program as it appears in the Add/Remove Programs tool. To completely remove a program that was not completely removed by clicking the Change/Remove button in the Add/Remove Programs tool, you need to clean up the physical directory structure on disk and in the registry as well. Use extreme caution when you perform either of these tasks.

To remove a program reference viewable in the Add/Remove Programs tool:
  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Locate the following key:
  3. Locate the key to be deleted by locating the key name created by the program. If the name of the key is not apparent, browse through each key and note the value for DisplayName. This is the viewable string in the Add/Remove Programs tool.
  4. Using the Registry menu, export the selected registry key to make a backup. Store the .reg file in a safe location in case you need to import it at a later date.
  5. Delete the selected registry key and its values. Do not delete the entire Uninstall key.
  6. Quit Registry Editor.
  7. Verify that the reference in the Add/Remove Programs tool is no longer visible.
You may have to contact the manufacturer of the program that you want to remove if you need to clean up the disk and registry entries. The procedure described in this section does not remove all the files and registry entries used by the program; it removes only the reference in the Add/Remove Programs tool.

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
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