Anyway to remove programs remotely?

Posted on 2004-11-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I have a bunch of users with those icon programs that change their mouse pointer etc. Is there anyway to remove this remotely?  VNC or Terminal Services isnt running on the machines.
Question by:dissolved
    LVL 49

    Accepted Solution

    If you know how and where they are installed and you have the permissions to do so you can remove any program remotely. Program installations are just file and registry settings both of which are available remotely assuming you have the right permissions and in the case of the registry the Remote Registry service is running.

    If you don't have any intelligent agent on the workstation that can do this for you then your only option is as follows

    1. Connect to the remote drive using map network drive or a UNC path in explorer

       \\server\c$ is an example

    2. Browse to where the program is installed and delete the folder

    3. Open your registry editor and select Connect remote computer from the Registry menu. Enter the name of the machine and when you press ok you should see the remote computer's registry available in regedit. You can then browse through the registry and remove any keys and values associated with the program.

    BUT - this assumes you know exactly what files and registry keys you need to remove. Most applications today install files and registry keys all over the place making it very difficult to find out exactly what should be removed. This coupled with the fact that many applications share common files and registry keys means you should delete both with absolute caustion and knowlege of what you are doing.

    For complex applications the above method is not recommended. However, if the application is fairly simple i.e. does not install files outside of its program directory - creates minimal registry keys and does not share files or settings with other applications then the above method should be ok.

    More information on the application could help in providing a more targeted solution. For instance does the application have an uninstall option - is it visible in Add/Remove programs. Is it an option to get the user of the machine to run an application that does the remove etc - depending on how your environment is setup will determine what options you have available in this regard.

    Author Comment

    Hi. Yes these programs can be removed via Add/Remove but I dont have physical access to the machine.
    I do have access to her registry and C$ remotely.
    LVL 49

    Expert Comment

    by:Julian Hansen
    As I said before unless you have some agent on the workstation that knows about uninstalling applications your only recourse is to do it the manual way.

    However, I say this only to highlight it as an option - to be used as a last resort. If you know exactly what to do to remove the file then you can do it as described above. If you are not sure then you must proceed with caution or else you could corrupt the computer by removing something that other applications require.

    To find out what an application does during installation you need to get hold of a tool that monitors what happens during an installation. There are a number out there - I remember using a program called InCtrl some time ago from PC Magazine - but there are others - including many commercial options. These programs usually work on snapshot technolgy - taking a before and after snapshot of the registry and filesystem and comparing the differences.

    The output from these will show you what you need to delete.

    If you do follow this route then aim to err on the side of caution - in other words if you are unsure about an application file or registry setting then leave it.

    The best bet would simply to remove the application shortcuts and any files they refer to as well as any references in the following locations

    Start/Programs/Startup - for both the user and All Users

    Once you have removed the links and the files they refer to the application is essentially uninstalled. You can choose to remove any other program files or not - the only real benefit is a cleaner file system and registry and more available space on the disk.

    If you need to uninstall a service - that is a little more tricky - post if you need help there.

    Author Comment


    Featured Post

    Maximize Your Threat Intelligence Reporting

    Reporting is one of the most important and least talked about aspects of a world-class threat intelligence program. Here’s how to do it right.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Suggested Solutions

    NTFS file system has been developed by Microsoft that is widely used by Windows NT operating system and its advanced versions. It is the mostly used over FAT file system as it provides superior features like reliability, security, storage, efficienc…
    It can often be challenging to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving world of technology. This can make recruiting talent difficult for companies of all sizes.
    Sending a Secure fax is easy with eFax Corporate ( First, Just open a new email message.  In the To field, type your recipient's fax number You can even send a secure international fax — just include t…
    This video discusses moving either the default database or any database to a new volume.

    728 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    19 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now