Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Repair the Add/Remove Programs List*

Reader Asks How To Repair the Add/Remove Programs List

Q: I have listing of programs which show up in my add/remove programs that do not exist on my computer. I would like to remove them from the add/remove programs. Is there a program or do you know an easy way to remove non-existent programs which still show up here?

AddRemoveA: When a program remains in the list of installed programs in your Control Panel’s Add/Remove Programs, after you have uninstalled it, it really doesn’t hurt anything to leave the entry there– but it is annoying and .. well, wrong. All it is is a key in the Registry didn’t get deleted by the uninstaller (which is why I use Revo to uninstall programs and not Add/Remove Programs or the Uninstaller)

The simplest way to remedy this ‘glitch’ is to click on the entry and launch the Remove process (as if it was still there) — Windows should “discover” that the program no longer exists, and ask if you want to remove it from the listing – answer yes, and it will remove the name.
(Vista and Win 7 are pretty good at this, but in XP [and older] this is more of a 50/50 proposition.)

If Windows doesn’t fix itself, then you can run the Registry repair/cleaner in CCleaner, which should find and delete the Registry key. When CCleaner asks if you want to make a backup, answer yes.

The direct approach is to manually edit the Registry. The Microsoft instructions for that are here, As always, I remind you that editing the Registry is risky and to make a new Restore Point (System Restore) and a Registry backup before editing the Registry.

* Orig post: 9/14/2009

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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August 10, 2010 - Posted by | computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, troubleshooting, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hey Paul,
    People easily get lured by the attractive ads and banners about registry cleaners which claim to make your pc faster but do nothing more than creating troubles (if not used properly) and seeing that most of the users are average and doesn’t understand the registry, they just click the repair button leading to strange issues like the corrupted add/remove programs list, as you mentioned…
    I too use Revo and it does it’s job very nicely.. It too sometimes misses some files/keys, but it’s whole lot better than the traditional windows uninstaller..


    Comment by Ranjan | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. Yup. I did. ;)


    Comment by Ranjan | August 11, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Thanks for creating a good opportunity for me to mention it again.


      Comment by techpaul | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  3. Paul, thanks for the thorough answer. I’m glad that you mentioned launching the remove process in Windows again to fully delete the program from the add/remove list. For me, I’ve found that programs won’t continue to show up in the add/remove list after finishing the remove process. What are the reasons why a key in the Registry wouldn’t get deleted even after using the remove process?


    Comment by TuneUp | August 16, 2010 | Reply

    • TuneUp,
      While there is more than one answer, “poor coding” generally covers it.


      Comment by techpaul | August 16, 2010 | Reply

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