Add and Remove programs comes up blank OR takes a long time to populate information


Symptoms


  Add/Remove Programs may appear to hang or take a long time to populate program information.

Cause


This can occur if there are a large number of files under a first level folder off the root of a drive. This is by design and is due to application compatibility. Add/Remove Programs uses Rundll32.exe to search under "Program Files" and also "Documents and Settings\<user profile>". However, some applications install directly to a folder on the root of the drive, and in this case would not be found by Add/Remove Programs. Because of this, Add/Remove Programs is designed to search first level folders located on the root of all local drives. If a first level folder has a very large number of files, this operation can take an extended period of time to complete. 

This issue applies only to local drives or drives that appear as local, such as SAN drives. Mapped drives or other network drives are not searched by Add/Remove Programs.

Resolution


This behavior is by design and thus it is recommended to not have first level folders housing a large number of files. Moving the files to a second level folder or deeper will alleviate this issue.

More Information


You can alternately uninstall applications manually without using Add/Remove Programs. Each installed application will typically have an uninstall string associated with it that will allow manual uninstall. To find the uninstall string, do the following: 

·         1. Open the registry editor (Regedit.exe) and browse to the following location:

o   HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

·         2. Each application should be listed under this key. Find the application by either its name or GUID.

3.   3.Copy the value for UninstallString and paste this into Start- Run. This should uninstall the application in the same manner as Add/Remove Programs.