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A while ago, I started having problems with the install of Windows Live Messenger which came with an Aspire One netbook - video conferencing didn't work, for example.

I then proceeded to attempt to "repair" Messenger, which failed.

Now, I'm trying to reinstall Messenger, but I can't get it to uninstall.

Here's what I tried at first:

  • Go to Add/Remove Programs and remove Windows Live Essentials.
    I tried this, ticked the checkboxes to remove all Live applications. For some reason, this uninstall failed for Messenger and Writer.

    Then, it removed its entry from the Add/Remove Programs list.

  • Tried CCleaner - useless as it uses the same list as the Add/Remove Programs panel.

  • Desperately uninstalling Windows Live Sync and Windows Live Messenger
  • Running the Windows Install Cleanup Utility from Microsoft and zapping:
    • Windows Live Messenger
    • Windows Live Writer
  • Downloading the installer and attempting to install over the top

I'm not going to just delete the Windows Live directory in \Program Files, as Messenger also installs two metric tonnes worth of registry crap as well, just like any other Microsoft product.

I also, helpfully, have no System Restore points - call me old-school but I turn System Restore off as soon as I get a machine.

Even more helpfully, I don't have a backup, a Windows CD, a CD drive or a spare memory stick so a format-and-reinstall is not an option.

I'm running Windows XP Home Edition on an Acer Aspire One netbook - I don't imagine the detailed specs are required for this particular question.

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I had to go through this procedure myself on my mom's pc, after she got one of those msn spam viruses. I ended up having to manually remove stuff from the registry by following a "How-to"..which I can't seem to find atm (will update if I do).

In the meanwhile, I came over ZapMessenger. A free utility to completely remove messenger installation from you system.

...the one step tool to completely remove Windows Live Messenger, MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger 5.x. The first thing ZapMessenger will do is attempt to cleanly uninstall Messenger normally and if that fails for any reason, it will forcibly remove Messenger from the Windows Installer engine allowing you to reinstall at your leisure without hindrance.

According to this blog entry. You could also try the following command. As the comments on that entry suggest, it looks like it works.

How to uninstall Windows Live Messenger 2009 using RUN To uninstall Windows Live Messenger, click START, then Run if using Windows XP [operating system] then [type/copy] the following and press Enter: [it works 100%]

msiexec /x {0AAA9C97-74D4-47CE-B089-0B147EF3553C}

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OK, I'll try that. I think the second one was done automatically by the Windows Install Cleanup Utility, but I'll give it a go anyway. –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 23:08
    
Looks like it was - I get "This action is only valid for products currently installed". Thanks, anyway. I'll try the first one. –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 23:09
    
Ahh, that first utility seems to have done it! Thank you! –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 23:12
    
Unfortunately not. It won't install again. Really, really sorry for that. –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 23:19
    
Sorry again! It turns out it did! There was an unrelated issue involving the Visual C++ runtime (which is now fixed) that caused my new problem. Thanks again, for putting up with an impatient, fickle poster. :) –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 23:29
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At this point it looks you have used up all of the options which are not drastic. At this point you are only going to uninstall the program by deleting the directory and nuking all of the sections within the registry that are used by the software. I have had to do this a time or two with a symantec product in the past. I am sure MS stuff is equally intrusive, so be prepared to find quite a few registry entries.

Something which is capable of saving you a great deal of time is registry mechanic It may save you an hour or more on the time you would spend ferreting out all of the registry entries from live messenger.

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Thanks. I hope I don't have to go down that route, but a registry cleaner would certainly make it easier. I'll look at Registry Mechanic - do you think the free version would suffice? –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 19:21
    
the free version is all I have ever needed. works great. –  Axxmasterr Aug 9 '09 at 20:43
    
OK, thanks. When I get a chance to try this out, I will. Unless something else comes along (;), I'll accept. –  Lucas Jones Aug 9 '09 at 21:23
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