(There are many questions on the topic of Restinstalling/Uninstalling applications, I am sorry if this has already been asked but I was not able to find a similar question with the same problem/goal).

Is there a way (argument or setting?) to force an installer to do a new installation, even if it finds an existing one?

On a regular Windows 10 system, imagine you have installed all your applications on a separate hard drive. Now, this hard drive fails and you want to reinstall the applications on a different disk. Welcome to my world of pain. While it sounds easy, the main problem is this: Various installers take the Windows registry information to determine the initial state they are starting in: New installation or change/repair mode. In the latter, they won't let you change the installation location, but immediately fail on processing the operation, because they try to access the lost disk.

I have tried to uninstall the application properly. However, the uninstaller file (which is also called by the windows remove application tool) is usually located in the application directory, and therefore not available. MSI installers can offer context menu or command line uninstall options, but unfortunately the Applications I try to reinstall are not using these.

I thought about manually cleaning the registry, or install a third party "cleaner" tool to remove registry entries, however this might mess up the whole system even more and is not a very clean approach, which might work only partially.

All I would like to do is a fresh installation of the Application.

The applications I am trying to install:

  • Git 2.22
  • Sublime Text 3207
  • vlc

I think git is using an InstallShield installer and vlc NSIS, not sure about Sublime. I checked if I can extract an uninstaller executable from the installer file, but that would have been too easy. I found the install script file for Git on GitHub, which contains a lot of registry key checks, I could manipulate these to try get the installer to a new installation.

But I have around 30 applications in total affected by this problem - it sounds easier (and faster) to reinstall Windows. Is there another way to solve this?

  • 2
    What is and is not possible entirely depends on the installer itself. An installer is typically a script, based on certain conditions it performs certain actions, what those actions are exactly are defined by the author of the installer.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 2, 2019 at 13:12

2 Answers 2


To do is a fresh installation of an application on another disk than the failed one (presuming that the failed disk was not that of Windows), would require cleaning out the old application.

You may do so using an uninstaller such as Revo Uninstaller Freeware. Even if the uninstallation task fails, Revo will still clean out all the traces it finds of the application, using its excellent algorithms.

You may find other good uninstallers in Best Free Program Uninstaller.


Thanks to this a post on silent install here, I found that both Git and Sublime use an Inno Setup installer. Cmd args can be displayed by calling it with /HELP and it does offer a parameter to force a different install folder!

Inno Setup:

.\Git-2.22.0-64-bit.exe /DIR="c:\git"


I was able to install git at a different location. The setup complains "could not uninstall previous version, continue anyway", but succeeds.

Quite easy with this Inno Setup, looking at the other applications now. The vlc installer does not reveal it's options this way unfortunately.

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