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I'm navigating to "Programs and Features" in the Windows 7 control panel, with the intent to uninstall some programs. Some entries there have (remove only) in their names. enter image description here What does this mean? Is something going to be left on my machine after I "only remove" this program?

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I was of the impression that this was to do with installers that don't use MSI to register the files, folders, etc. that they install. A program entry may appear in the programs and features section that has not used MSI and therefore windows cannot do a 'repair' because it doesn't know what to repair. –  Matt Wilko May 4 '11 at 12:32

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Every application in Windows may have upto three options in 'Programs and Features' section; ie uninstall, change or repair.

Uninstall means to remove the application from the OS.
Change means to add or remove certain features or components from the application.
Repair means to verify if the application is installed correctly and if not, fix any issues with an incorrect installation.

(Remove Only) applications can only be uninstalled. The change and repair options will not be available.

The below image is for reference showing all the three available options.

enter image description here

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This is just a convention that used to be somewhat useful in the past. It doesn't mean anything any more.

In modern Windows versions, a program can specify several options to be displayed in the "Programs and Features" panel. The default is an uninstall option, but there can also be options for repairing and changing any individual components.

However, back in the olden days of Windows 95/98, you could manage installed programs from the "Add/Remove Programs" control panel, which only contained a single option, named 'Add/Remove'. If the uninstaller supported anything more than a simple removal, it had to ask the user itself with a dialog box. To avoid user confusion, some programs that didn't support any fancy options would state so by adding "(remove only)" to the program uninstall entry.

Win98 Add Remove

Some people simply got into the habit of doing this and therefore it persists to this day.

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All it means is that there are no other options available to the installation program.

Some installation programs have the options to change the installed options of the program and/or repair the existing options as well as the standard option to remove the application.

If the application is small and simple then "remove" is all that's needed.

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