How To Remove Programs From Add Remove Programs List Manually?

How To Remove Programs From Add/Remove Programs List Manually On Windows

The 'Add or Remove Programs' link (later renamed to 'Uninstall a Program') opens the Programs and Features window in Microsoft Windows - this allows you to view which programs are installed, gathers information about each program installed, and allows you to remove any unwanted software. The Add or Remove Programs feature was first introduced with Windows 98.

Programs can sometimes be uninstalled incorrectly, or associated directories, mistakenly deleted. This leaves entries in the Add/Remove Programs list that cannot simply be deleted. When you click such entries and try to remove them, Windows displays an error, or nothing happens at all. This is frustrating when there are many remaining entries. Fortunately, there are ways to remove them. In this guide, we show how to remove these problem entries from the Add/Remove Programs list.

Note: Removing programs manually includes editing Windows registry. This can cause irreversible damage to your system if not done correctly. Follow the steps carefully.

how to remove programs from add and remove programs list manually

Table of Contents:

Remove Entries Using Registry Editor

Windows Registry, usually referred to as just the registry, is a collection of databases of configuration settings in Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is used to store much of the information and settings for software programs, hardware devices, user preferences, operating system configurations, and much more. Many of the options exposed in the registry are not accessible elsewhere in Windows. A wide variety of advanced settings can only be changed by directly editing the registry. Some other settings may be accessible through Group Policy – but the Group Policy editor is only included on Professional editions of Windows. The registry allows you to change most settings that can be accessed through Group Policy.

To open Registry Editor, type "run" in Search and click the "Run" result.

remove entries using registry editor step 1

In the Run dialog box, type "regedit" and click "OK" to open Registry Editor.

remove entries using registry editor step 2

When the Registry Editor window is open, follow this path: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall". You can reach it by manually expanding directories or simply copying and pasting this path into Registry Editor's box under menu.

remove entries using registry editor step 3

Within the registry directory, you will see two entries: software IDs and names. The first are more difficult to identify - click each entry and look for the software name in the description pane, labeled “DisplayName". You can see in our example that the registry key "{B5121457-0126-4E62-BCBF-6DC7C73D9E4A}" is labeled "Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.3.12" in the Add/Remove Programs list. We recommend that you look for the program you wish to remove by checking readable names first. If you cannot find the program you are looking for, try checking "DisplayName" setting in the directories with abstract IDs.

remove entries using registry editor step 4

When you find the program you want to remove from the entry list, simply right-click on it and choose "Delete" from the drop-down menu. Restart your computer when finished.

remove entries using registry editor step 5


If you are using the 64-bit version of Windows, go to a different sub-directory in the registry. Follow this path: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall". Here, you will find (if entries for the applications are present) a directory structure identical to the previous \Uninstall directory. Some entries will be identified by an abstract ID and others by name. If there is no entry for the application you just removed in the previous section, then this is due to not all applications having entries in both registry directories. Restart your computer when finished for the changes to take effect.

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Remove Entries Using CCleaner

CCleaner is a small, effective utility for computers running Microsoft Windows that cleans 'junk' and issues that accumulate over time: temporary files, broken shortcuts, and other problems. It protects your privacy, cleans your browsing history and temporary internet files, allowing you to be a more confident Internet user and less susceptible to identity theft. CCleaner can clean redundant files from various programs saving hard disk space, remove unneeded entries in Windows Registry, help you uninstall software, and select which programs start with Windows. Download Cleaner here

Open CCleaner when downloaded and click "Tools" on the left pane, select the "Uninstall" section to start uninstalling programs/remove entries you no longer need. Simply click the program name and then click "Uninstall" in the top-right corner. If you want to remove the entry from the program list, click "Delete". Restart your computer when finished for the changes to take effect. You should no longer see those programs on the Add/Remove Programs list.

remove entries using cleaner

That's it! After following the above steps, you will be able to completely uninstall and remove programs from Windows and associated entries. We hope this helps!

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Video Showing How To Remove Programs From Add/Remove Programs List Manually:

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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