My friend got a new Windows 8.1 laptop. I am helping her cleanup things that came "free" from HP (games, etc).

In the list of programs installed, I see "Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition" and 9 versions of "Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable" (ranging from 2005 to 2010).

She is no developer and never installed those. What are they doing here? Is it safe to uninstall?

  • MS SQL Compact is a little bit like SQLite. Or maybe a better comparison is the old JET database engine. – Zan Lynx Apr 15 '14 at 1:20
  • Do a complete clean install? Use the CD Key and download an ISO from Microsoft and erase everything. – WernerCD Apr 15 '14 at 2:20

Short answer

Just leave them alone.

Long answer

It is not safe to uninstall them: all Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages include libraries required to run C++ applications that are built by using Visual Studio. If they're installed it means some programs required them in order to work.

In case you were wondering, you can't uninstall say, the 2005 package, and keep just the latest version, because every package is standalone: applications built with Visual Studio 2005 will require the 2005 library package, those built with Visual Studio 2008 will require the 2008 package, and so on.

Also, in 64-bit operating systems you'll see both x64 (64-bit) and x86 (32-bit) versions installed, and the latter is required for 32-bit C++ programs who might need them. You can't just keep the x64 package and uninstall the x86 one.

As for Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition, it can be used by some programs as well, and you shouldn't uninstall it either.

Additional information

The Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package installs runtime components of Visual C++ Libraries required to run applications developed with Visual C++ on a computer that does not have Visual C++ 2010 installed.

Source: Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (x86)

Because Visual C++ libraries are installed in the %windir%\system32\ directory by the Visual Studio installer, when you develop a Visual C++ application that depends on them, it will run as expected. However, to deploy the application to computers that may not have Visual Studio, we recommend that you ensure that the libraries are installed on those computers together with the application.

Source: Choosing a Deployment Method

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition (SQL Server Compact Edition) is designed for developers who need light weight, in process relational database solution for their applications that can be developed and deployed on desktop as well as on mobile devices. SQL Server Compact Edition Runtime can be used to develop and deploy applications on desktop.

Source: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition


You can figure out which of the C++ libraries are needed by first uninstalling all the crap, games and freebes from HP, then after 1-2 days uninstall all C++ libraries. Be aware that some of the remaining programs may need them and if one of the uninstalled programs gives you errors that means it needs C++ version x. It will be a quick search to see what the program actually needs. Install that C++ version only. It should be free from Microsoft.

You can use the same process with .NET

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