How to Fix Uninstall Issues On PC

For the vast majority of Windows users, installing and uninstalling a program works without any hiccups, issues or error messages. However, it’s not uncommon for the end user to encounter a notification or error message from time to time. This could be because of a failed installation, the operating systems inability to remove an application, or it could be the result of a failed update.

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Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms associated with an application that refuses to install, uninstall or update is as follows:

The end user is unable to install a newer version of the program, because of the inability to remove the old version.
The program may run, but performance will be very sluggish due to an incomplete install.

Common Causes

In most cases, uninstall and install issues are the result of file corruption. The corruption of a specific file prevents the application from being removed, irrespective of what the end user tries. Corruption within the registry is also known to cause such problems.

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How to Fix Uninstall Issues On PC

As with the vast majority of problems on your computer, there are a number of ways that you can use to tackle it. However, the most commonise the manual or automated methods. The manual method entails you using Windows Explorer to locate and delete the installation folders of the program. The end user will also be required to access the registry and manually remove the appropriate file references.

The problem with this method is that it can prove rather tricky, locating all of the files for that specific program, as failing to delete any of the files will result in a failed uninstall.

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With the automated method, the end user need only download specific kinds of software that is capable of scanning your system and removing all references to a failed uninstall. Such programs are most ideal for the beginner to intermediate users.

That said, I will be outlining a number of useful ways of tackling this, fairly common issue.

Use Microsoft Fix-It

Microsoft was kind enough to release a Fix-It tool, which is capable of diagnosing and fixing uninstall and install problems automatically. If you don’t know what a Fix-It is it’s basically a small program that Windows users can run on their computer to resolve specific problems on their computer systems.

How to Fix Uninstall Issues On PC
On the support page for the Fix-It file, it lists a number of issues that it is designed to tackle:Removes corrupted or bad registry keys from Windows registry.
Resolves the many issues that prevent an end user from installing a new application on their computer.

Resolves the various issues that prevent you from removing an application from your computer.

You should only use this Fix-It if the built-in Windows add/remove programs feature fails to remove the application.

Users that run the Fix-It, have the option of selecting whether or not they would like it to detect for problems and fix whatever it finds, or allow the end user to determine what it will fix and what it will not.

Running through the various options, the end user will need to choose whether the issue is with an uninstallation, if so, the program will list a number of programs that it has detected you have installed on your computer. The end user also has the ability to select Not Listed, if the program is not available from the list of applications.

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When this option has been selected, the end user can use the programs product code in order to remove the application.

You can find this Fix-It on Microsoft’s support website; simply do a quick search for Program Install and Uninstall.

Use an Uninstallation Tool

There are a number of third-party uninstallation tools that you can use to remove corrupted applications from your computers. These programs work by utilising a number of different techniques, such as hard drive scanning, for remnants of the application, the Windows InstallShield and scanning the registry for any references to the application, once it has successfully removed its program files.

It basically carries out all of the methods that you would otherwise do yourself, if you were removing the program manually. This makes using such software the ideal solution, for a novice to intermediate users.

There are tons of different uninstallation tools out there, with only slight differences between each of them. So you needn’t worry about acquiring the wrong one.


Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website compuchenna

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