Do you have a program that you can’t remove with the Windows uninstaller (Programs and Features)? If the Windows uninstaller is not working for a specific program, you might not need to fix the uninstaller. It might instead be the case that the software’s installation is corrupted or you don’t have sufficient access rights. These are a few resolutions for removing a program when the Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 uninstaller doesn’t uninstall it.
How to fix Windows Uninstaller issues
- Open the Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter
- Remove the Program with a Third-Party Uninstaller
- Repair the Program
- Activate the Built-in Admin Account
- Remove the Program With System Restore
1. Open the Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter
First, check out the Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter. That Microsoft troubleshooter can fix errors that block users uninstalling software. You can utilize that troubleshooter in Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 as follows.
- First, open this webpage in your browser.
- Press the Download button there to save the Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter to a folder.
- Then open the troubleshooter from the folder you saved it in.
- Click Advanced and select the Apply repairs automatically option.
- Press the Next button, and then select the Uninstalling option.
- Select the program that you can’t uninstall from the list shown directly below, and press the Next button. The troubleshooter will then provide potential fixes.
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2. Remove the Program with a Third-Party Uninstaller
Third-party uninstallers usually uninstall software more thoroughly than the Windows uninstaller that leaves a few leftover registries behind. Furthermore, uninstaller utilities might include software that aren’t listed in Programs and Features. So a third-party uninstaller utility might also remove a program that the Windows uninstaller doesn’t uninstall. Revo Uninstaller is one of the more highly rated uninstaller utilities. You can also remove software with the freeware Advanced Uninstaller Pro 12 as follows.
- Press the Download Now button on this page to save the Advanced Uninstaller Pro 12 setup wizard to a folder. Then you can open the setup wizard to add the software to Windows.
- Open the Advanced Uninstaller Pro window.
- Select General Tools > Uninstall Programs to open the software’s uninstaller utility.
- Select the software to remove, and press its Uninstall button.
- Select the Use the leftover scanner option on the confirmation window that opens.
- Then Press Yes to confirm.
- Select all the files and registry entries on the Application uninstall window that opens, and press the Next button.
3. Repair the Program
The Windows uninstaller doesn’t always uninstall corrupted programs. Programs and Features includes a Repair option for some programs that you can select to fix corrupted installations. This is how you can repair software via Programs and Features.
- Open the Run accessory by pressing its Windows key + R hotkey.
- Enter ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run’s text box, and press the OK button.
- Select a program and press its Repair button.
- If there is not Repair option for a program, select the Change button instead. That will open a window like the one shown in the image below.
- Then select a repair option on the window that opens to fix installation issues for the selected software.
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4. Activate the Built-in Admin Account
Note that you might need elevated admin rights to remove some software. If you don’t have sufficient access rights, a window pops up stating, “You do not have sufficient access to uninstall.” If that dialog box window pops up for you, you’re probably uninstalling the software within a standard user account. To fix that, you can activate the built-in admin account as follows.
- First, enter ‘Command Prompt’ in Windows’ search box (on the Start menu or within Cortana).
- Press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter hotkey to open the Command Prompt as administrator.
- Then input ‘net user administrator /active:yes’ in the Command Prompt and press Return to activate the built-in admin account.
- Sign out and log back in to Windows with the administrator account.
- Uninstall the required program within the new admin account.
5. Remove the Program With System Restore
System Restore is a Windows utility that rolls your system back to a selected restore point. As such, restoring Windows to an earlier date also removes third-party software installed after the restore point. So, this utility might also get rid of a program that the Windows uninstaller doesn’t uninstall. You can roll Windows back to a restore point as follows.
- Press the Windows key + R to open Run.
- Enter ‘rstrui’ in the Open text box and click OK to open System Restore.
- Press the Next button to open the list of restore points.
- Then choose a restore point to roll Windows back to. Select a restore point that predates the date you installed the software that Windows doesn’t uninstall.
- You can see what software gets uninstalled with a restore point by pressing the Scan for affected programs button.
- Click Next and press the OK button to restore Windows.
So that’s how you can remove a program when the Windows uninstaller doesn’t uninstall it. Aside from those resolutions, try removing programs in Windows Safe Mode, which you can access in earlier Windows platforms by pressing the F8 key during system startup. Note that some system optimizers also include uninstaller utilities that you can utilize as an alternative to Programs and Features.
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