How to Delete Programs From My Computer That Won't Delete in Add/Remove Programs


When a program on your computer won't remove itself through the Add/Remove Programs dialog of Windows XP, you can manually remove the application from your computer. Manual removal of applications and programs is a two-part procedure. First, you need to delete the program files from your computer's file system. Once the program files have been removed from your file system, you can delete the program data from the Windows Registry to complete the removal process.

Removing Program Files

  • Double click the "My Computer" icon on your desktop, or select "My Computer" from the "Start" menu. Open the "C:\" drive and locate the "Program Files" directory.

  • Browse through the Program Files directory until you find a folder that shares the company name of the application you wish to uninstall. Open this folder.

  • Right click on the directory that has the same name as the program you want to remove. Select "Send to Recycle Bin" from the context menu.

  • Confirm that you want to send the folder and its contents to the Recycle Bin by pressing "Ok."

  • Close your file browser to view the desktop. Right-click on the "Recycle Bin" icon and select "Empty Recycle Bin" from the context menu.

Deleting Registry Data

  • Press "Windows+R" on your keyboard or select "Run" from the "Start" menu to open the "Run" dialog. Type "regedt32" into the Run dialog and click "Ok" to open the Registry Editor.

  • Expand the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" folder in the navigation pane by clicking the "+" symbol.

  • Locate and expand the "SOFTWARE" sub-directory. Browse the "SOFTWARE" sub-directory until you find the folder for the application you wish to remove.

  • Select the folder for the application you wish to remove. Press the "Delete" key.

  • Repeat steps 2-4, but expand the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" directory instead of the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" directory.

  • Remove the application name from the "Add/Remove Programs" list. Use the navigation tree to open "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall." Locate and delete the folder for the application; it will no longer appear in the "Add/Remove Programs" list.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have multiple programs from the same company on your computer, the company directory in "Program Files" will likely contain two or more folders. Only delete the folder that shares the name of the application you want to remove.
  • Editing the Windows Registry can alter your computer's performance. Back up your registry before making changes.

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