Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Uninstalling software

Uninstalling software

Remove browser toolbars that won’t shift, repair corrupted Registry entries and find missing uninstall options

No uninstall option available

If an unwanted application doesn’t have an entry in Control Panel’s ‘Uninstall a program’ window, first check the tool’s Start menu program group. In Windows 7 and earlier, click Start followed by the program’s name, then look to see if an uninstall option exists in the chosen folder. If not, it might be that the program isn’t installed in the technical sense but has instead added a shortcut to itself in the Startup program group – because that makes it launch automatically with Windows. In any Windows version, press Windows key+E to launch Windows Explorer (or File Explorer), navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Right-click an unwanted entry’s shortcut and choose Properties then note the program’s storage location in the Target field. Click OK. Now click the shortcut and hit Delete (Del) to remove it, then visit the location just noted to delete the program’s actual executable file (with .exe extension).

Uninstall faulty Windows updates

Sometimes Windows updates can cause problems, in which case uninstall faulty ones until Microsoft fixes them. In Control Panel, click Programs then ‘Programs and Features’ and ‘View installed updates’. Click to highlight the troublesome update, click Uninstall, then Yes. In Windows 10 even unwanted updates will automatically download and reinstall, but you can stop this. Click Start followed by Settings, then ‘Network & internet’ followed by WiFi. Scroll to the bottom and click ‘Advanced settings’, then slide the ‘Metered connection’ switch to the On position. Windows won’t now download updates until you switch off the metered-connection mode.

Can’t uninstall unwanted browser toolbars

Browsers are quickly blighted by invasive toolbars, and it’s not obvious how to remove them. In Internet Explorer, click the cog icon at the top-right then choose ‘Manage add-ons’.

Now click ‘Toolbars and Extensions’ on the left, select the unwanted item in the right-hand pane and click Disable. In Chrome, click the menu button (three horizontal lines, top right) then choose Settings followed by Extensions. Remove ticks to disable, or click the dustbin icon to delete. In Firefox, click the menu button (three horizontal lines), then Add-ons. Click Disable or Remove as appropriate.

Uninstall option doesn’t work

There are lots of reasons why an uninstall option might fail. First, temporarily disable your antivirus (AV) software and try again (don’t forget to re-enable your AV later). Next, try running Disk Cleanup: just type this into the Start menu or Cortana, then click Disk Cleanup. Tick anything you don’t specifically need to keep then click ‘Clean up system files’. If it still doesn’t work, start your PC in Safe Mode and try again. In Windows 7 and earlier, tap F8 after switching on then choose Safe Mode and press Enter. In Windows 8.1/10, restart while holding down the Shift key. Now click Troubleshoot followed by ‘Advanced options’ then Startup Settings. Click Restart, then, when the Startup Settings menu appears, tap F4 to start in Safe Mode.

Corrupted Registry key reported

If uninstalling displays an error suggesting a corrupted Registry key, cancel the attempt and visit Here you’ll find one of Microsoft’s automated ‘Fix it’ tools that’s able to repair many known problems that cause these messages. Just click ‘Run now’ then, if necessary, double-click the downloaded executable file (with a .exe extension). The wizard has both automated and manual modes: for better information and control, try clicking ‘Detect problems and let me select the fixes to apply’.

If all else fails…

It sounds counter-intuitive but if a program won’t uninstall and nothing else has worked, try reinstalling it. Often this will reset or repair settings or Registry entries that are causing the problem, so you’ll then be able to uninstall. If even that fails, turn to System Restore. From Control Panel click ‘System and Security’ followed by System and then ‘System protection’. Click System Restore then follow the wizard to choose a Restore Point prior to when the relevant program was installed.