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How best to manually uninstall a program in windows 7/vista

I have a problem uninstalling applications using Windows 7,

Whenever I install a trial or limited program, it doesn't matter how good the uninstaller is, or how good the registry cleaner is: It'll never able to get rid of it completely.

How do I completely remove a program from my laptop with all registry entries? And how do I whether the application has totally disappeared from my laptop?

marked as duplicate by Nifle, slhck, RedGrittyBrick, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Der Hochstapler May 25 '12 at 22:29

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  • I think there's no generic answer for this question. Steps strictly depend on application. – default locale May 25 '12 at 7:24
  • 2
    How did you determine that the uninstaller isn't removing all traces of the program? Also, are you experiencing any performance or stability issues that you suspect are the result of this? – Indrek May 25 '12 at 7:28
  • 1
    are you trying to use a demo software again? – Maxwell S. May 25 '12 at 8:05
  • I'm pretty sure your question suffers from the XY Problem. You're asking for your attempted solution rather than your real problem. Why would you care if everything's removed completely? What are you really trying to do? Are there any problems with your current installation? Which task are you trying to achieve? – slhck May 25 '12 at 8:28
up vote 4 down vote accepted

From: Force Uninstall - How to Fully Uninstall the Unnecessary Software from Your PC in Minutes

Click Start and choose Run in the menu (If you're using Windows Vista then press Win+R on your keyboard).

Type regedit and hit Enter.

On the left side is the registry settings tree, use it to go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Inside that key you'll find a lot of keys that belong to different programs. Some are named after the program's name, others as a mix of numbers and letters that makes no sense. Look through each of them until you find one that has the key DisplayName (on the right) with your program's name in it.

Notice the key UninstallString - this key points to the uninstall program, and the log file usually resides in the same folder as that program.

If you delete the key in which you've found the DisplayName key with the value equal to your program's name, then your program won't appear on the Add/Remove programs list.

  • Ah, I thought so. Do not copy and paste content without attributing the proper source. Otherwise, your posts will be deleted, and if you continue to do so, your account can be suspended for violating the terms you agreed to when signing up for the site. – slhck Jun 5 '12 at 13:55

Short answer: You probably can't.

Long answer: Most installers will have a list of requirements that the program want when it's installed. This is however not the whole truth. A program can make changes on the computer after the fact, for example when it's being run and you change a setting it can write this to the registry. You could add your own file association after the fact and this will be written to the registry.

So when an uninstaller is run, it will probably only look at the list that the installer used and remove those changes. Any other changes that the program has made after it was installed will not be removed by the uninsnstaller.

You could perhaps rectify this by running Process Monitor for example and track every change the program does to your computer when it's being run. It will however probably make the program quite impossible to use since you will have to watch Process Monitor at the same time.

  • so there is no way to completely remove the application from a PC? thanks a lot for the explanation – Perdana Putra May 25 '12 at 7:48
  • It's possible. It will just require a lot of effort on your part. And you will have to determine if the effort is worth it. – Smetad Anarkist May 25 '12 at 8:00

Personally I use Sandboxie for checking out programs (trials etc), I install Applications I want to try in to the Default Sandbox, play with them for a while and then if I want to keep them and are happy with the programs behaviour I re-install on the "live" system.

If I don't like them I simply delete the contents of the Sandbox.


The question doesn't show what exactly you've tried already, so I'll suggest looking at Revo Uninstaller and Glary Utilities.

If you have problems with specific applications, then dedicated uninstallers might also exist.

  • Ok, I'll try it. Thanks for the advice – Perdana Putra May 25 '12 at 7:49

open regedit, click EDITthen FIND and type in the name of the program and click FIND NEXT. delete any entry it finds ,then hit F3 to search again, keep doing this until it doesn't find any more.

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