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IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry


To add, remove, or change a program on a Windows 2000-based computer, use the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel. Occasionally, a program may not be uninstalled completely and a reference to the program may remain in the Currently installed programs dialog box. Changing or removing a program may result in a number of messages about files that cannot be located, but are needed to complete the change or uninstallation. This article describes how to remove these invalid entries from the Add/Remove Programs tool.

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WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

The following steps remove only the registry entries related to a program as it appears in the Add/Remove Programs tool. To completely uninstall a program that was not completely removed by clicking the Change/Remove button in the Add/Remove Programs tool, you need to clean up the physical directory structure on disk and in the registry also. Use extreme caution when you perform either of these tasks.

To remove a program reference viewable in the Add/Remove Programs tool:

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

  2. Locate the following key:


  3. Locate the key to be deleted by locating the key name created by the program. If the name of the key is not apparent, browse through each key and note the value for DisplayName. This is the viewable string in the Add/Remove Programs tool.

  4. Using the Registry menu, export the selected registry key to make a backup. Store the .reg file in a safe location in case you need to import it at a later date.

  5. Delete the selected registry key and its values. Do not delete the entire Uninstall key.

  6. Quit Registry Editor.

  7. Verify that the reference in the Add/Remove Programs tool is no longer visible.

You may have to contact the manufacturer of the program you want to remove if you need to clean up the disk and registry entries. The above procedure does not remove all the files and registry entries used by the program, it removes only the reference in the Add/Remove Programs tool.

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