uninstall works 2000 without cd

Posted on 2004-11-25
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
How can I uninstall works 2000 from my computer without the cd,it was lost during a moving mishap.I wanted to upgrade to 2003 but it tells me to uninstall the old one first. I'm running 98SE.
Question by:congereel
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    Did you already try Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs?

    Renaming the main .EXE file to .OLD might work. Be sure to uncheck the program in msconfig, under the startup tab first, if it is there.   START>RUN>type MSCONFIG
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    You should be able to find the "UninstallString" command in your registry and modify it to attempt an uninstallation if Works 2000 if it keeps insisting on accessing a file on the CD-Rom.  It all depends what that command is though.

    Generally, items listed in the Add/Remove Programs are displayed there courtesy of a key in the registry where the name that appears in the list is defined, and a command line is specified as "UninstallString".

    Older programs used the InstallShield setup programs to install programs, but I am quite sure that MS Works 2000 will have used the newer MSIEXEC.EXE installer file.  This was used in Office 97 onwards, so I am pretty sure that it will be the case here.

    The MSIEXEC.EXE installations are packaged as *.msi files and stored on your computer in the C:\Windows\Installer folder.  Running an UNinstallation will then offer additional options that were not available from the older InstallShield ones, namely  "Repair" and "Add or Remove Program Components", as well as "Remove".

    In essence, the .msi file is the database with full instructions for installing and removing applications.   Msiexec.exe uses a file named msi.dll to read the .msi file. The program copies files to the hard disk, creates shortcuts, modifies Registry entries, etc.

    This page gives details about the actual .msi and how it is created and used:

    So what I am driving at here is that being able to uninstall Works 2000 all depends on what instructions are in that .msi file, and therefore what is also contained in your registry settings.

    The easiest way to demonstrate how this works is by an example, in this case Microsoft Office 2000 Premium.

    It creates a file named "c:\windows\Installer\272efa.msi" and also creates a registry key named {00000409-78E1-11D2-B60F-006097C998E7} in the key:


    Different applications create their own keys, some being long unique numbers as above, while others are named after the application.

    Looking at the settings in that key, here are the relevant ones:

    - DisplayName - Name as shown in Add/Remove programs
    - InstallLocation - Where installed to (not always specified)
    - InstallSource - Folder or Drive from which setup ran
    - LocalFile - Path to stored .msi file through which the uninstall string works
    - ModifyPath - Allows user to click on Add/Remove button
    - UninstallString - "Remove Only" if no "ModifyPath" specified
    - QuietUninstallString - Not sure, I guess it uninstalls quietly :-)

    In many cases, the "UninstallString" will use the following format:

    MsiExec.exe /I{long-unique-ID-number-here}

    The {long-number} will refer to the key name in the registry and will obviously differ for each installed program.  The "I" option tells it to "Install" or "Modify/Repair" the application.

    The "UninstallString" used for applications that appear as "Remove Only" ones use the format:

    MsiExec.exe /X{long-unique-ID-number-here}

    The "X" option tells it to "Uninstall" the application.

    So really, it's just referring the uninstall process back to the name of the registry key containing the relevant settings.  There are often 2 additional values in that registry key, namely "NoRepair" and "NoModify" which, when set to "1" will not allow the program to be repaired or components added or removed by accessing the "LocalFile" (the .msi setup file).

    Compare this to an older type of Installer routine by looking at its registry key in the same place as the msiexec ones, and you immediately see the difference.  This one is just a simple program named "Cover Creator".  This contains only a handful of settings.

    "LogFile"="C:\Progra~1\InstallShield Installation Information\{long-number}\setup.ilg

    "UninstallString"="RunDll32 C:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\INSTAL~1\ENGINE\6\INTEL3~1\Ctor.dll,LaunchSetup "C:\Program Files\InstallShield Installation Information\{same-long-number}\SETUP.EXE"

    As it is obviously very important for any uninstall routine to be fully aware of what files it created or modified, what older file versions in backed up and overwrote, what registry settings it created, etc, the routine has to get these details from somewhere.  An .msi file holds all these details, but in the above example it specifies a "Log File" that was created during installation.

    The "InstallShield Engine" is already a shared program installed on your computer, and is used to access the original application's "setup.exe" file and run it.  In turn, that setup.exe file will run through a sequence in which it looks at all the lines in that log file so it knows everything to remove or reset.

    MSIEXEC.EXE can be run with a lot of different options instead of just "I" or "X", and these are useful for system administrators:

    Some of these MIGHT be able to be used successfully to uninstall Works 2000 depending on what registry settings are present on your computer.

    Here's what I would like you to do:

    1. Start Menu > "RUN" option > and type REGEDIT
    2. Maximize the Regedit Window
    3. In the left pane, using it like the folders in the left pane of Windows Explorer, click on the + signs and plough down until you navigate to:


    Open out the "Uninstall" key by clicking on the + sign, and a long list of keys ("folders" will show beneath it.

    4. Click on each key in turn, and look in the RIGHT-hand pane for the key that relates to Microsoft Works 2000.  Stop there.

    5. Click on the "Registry" menu and then on "Export Registry File...".
    6. A dialog like a "Save As" will open.
    7. Navigate to the Drive and folder where you want to export the file to
    8. Type in a File Name by which to save the file, and add .txt onto the end of it, eg.
    9. In the "Save As Type" field, click the small black drop-down arrow and change it from "Registration File (*.reg)" to "All Files (*.*)".
    10. In the "Export Range" section, click in "Selected Branch Only"
    11. Click the "Save" button and wait until the process finishes
    12. Close the REGEDIT window.
    13. Locate the saved .txt file
    14. Open it in NotePad, Use Edit > Select All > Edit > Copy
    15. Paste the contents here
    16. Close NotePad.

    I will be interested to see it, because I don't have access to a Works 2000 CD to install and check this out.

    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    coral47 - sore fingers again :-(
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Pity you don't have Office 2000 or you could have used the Microsoft utility "Eraser2K":

    Check out this page in which the smug-looking Lawrence J. Magid reviews Works 2000.

    Here's the bit that coaught my eye:

    "...I decided to uninstall Works by using the standard Uninstall program that comes with Windows. Later, I decided to take a second look and reinstalled the program.

    The Works setup program said "welcome back" but wouldn't let me reinstall the program. I then went back to the Windows Uninstaller and noticed that a program called "Works 2000 Setup Launcher" was still installed so I tried to uninstall it. That wound up running the Setup Launcher, which in turn, invited me to uninstall Word, which had been on my computer before I ever installed Works. I never got that Setup Launcher off my machine.

    I was able to reinstall Works but only because I spent a lot of time discovering some special tricks that few people would probably find".

    How very clever of you!! Perhaps you might care to divulge them so that we too can use the methods.  That's why he looks to smug and smarmy !!

    I tried typing the words "uninstall works 2000 with no cd" and "larry's special tricks" into the search field on his "PC" site (, but he hasn't provided any answers, so his "pseudo-domain" is a misnomer.  Anyway, it only runs which I could easily have done anyway, so he's a fraud  :-)
    I notice all of his pages are created in MS Office, by the way.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Interesting page quotes a "Microsoft Works Cleanup Utility" which is used by the system to remove previous versions while installing.

    MS Office does much the same thing, but I'm unsure whether this might work as a standalone method, or whether it should only be run to remove left-overs after uninstalling - as is the case with the Office "erasers".

    Relevant section here (paraphrased):

    If the procedures in step 2 (uninstall through Add/Remove Programs) trigger an error message, use the appropriate Microsoft Works Cleanup utility to remove each version of Works. For Works 2000 in Windows 98 and ME, use the file "Wks2kll.exe".

    So, where is the file? ....
    The files are located on the Works CD-ROM (or on CD1 for Works Suite 2003) in the following folder:
    Note You can also obtain these files from the Microsoft Download Center. Type the file name in the Keywords box:

    Thank you, let's go find it then, but first...

    When the Works Cleanup utility finishes and you are prompted to restart Windows, click Later.

    Install and run the appropriate Windows Installer Cleanup tool.
    Microsoft Knowledge Base 290301 ( Description of the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility
    Restart your computer normally.
    Install the newer version of Works on your computer.



    Works 2000 Clean Up Utility:

    Windows Installer Cleanup Utility:
    --------------------------------- (read the readme.txt file)

    Hopefully this helps you out of a hole.
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    >> sore fingers <<  So, soak them in hot water and take some aspirin.   : )
    If you were not so full of interesting background info, I could easily get irritated at your post. But I learn sooooo much from them.
    Thanks, again.    : )
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for those words of encouragement, coral47.  I sometimes do ramble on a bit, but I'm thinking as I do it, so that's just the way it comes out.  I take notes in a running notepad session while I explore the possibilities, and it's sometimes been known to run out of memory :-)
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    >> running notepad session.... run out of memory <<   Been there. Try Wordpad, it doesn't choke on large files.   : )
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Hack NotePad so it opens something other than WordPad if the file is too large:
    Use metapad as the alternative:
    Maybe Windows NT NotePad works in Win98.  Think I'll try it and see.

    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    Hmmmm...   Interesting.

    Author Comment

    I've tried the things that were suggested but still when I try to install the newer version it still tells me that the older version needs to be deleted.How far into the registry can I search for the problem?
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    See if one of these will help. Before you start plowing through the registry:
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    I think that the problem with many (if not all) these Uninstaller utilities is that they work by either of the following methods:

    1. Monitoring and logging the installation in detail, and then allowing the uninstall routine to reference that log file at uninstallation
    - or -
    2. Looking in common places for known uninstall files (like "Uninst.isu") or strings, relating them to the program, and then attempting to run them.

    Without a log file of what was originally installed, I have a feeling that these might prove fruitless but anything is worth a try.

    Perhaps the Works installation created a log file on your system that persists.  Try a file search for files named  *log*.txt   or  *log*.log  and open them in NotePad/WordPad to see if the contents are familiar.

    I have been looking at the Works Cleanup utility file for Works 2000 in Win98 (wks2kll.EXE) to see what it does.  It is a compressed archive that unpacks to the following relevant files:


    From what I can see, it "installs" the .INF file which in turn closes running processes related to Works (specifically calendar reminder "wkcalrem").  It gets the process ID and pattern from the Task List, and possibly also closes down other running programs.  It then removes the following registry keys if they exist:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Works Suite
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Works Suite

    It then calls the .BAT file which first creates a backup folder (c:\program files\WorksBkup), backs up the contents of installed folders, and then removes the following folders and files:

    Text Converters:

    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\textconv\works432.cnv
    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\textconv\works332.cnv
    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\textconv\Works532.cnv

    c:\windows\start menu\programs\startup\Microsoft Works Calendar Reminders.lnk (shortcut to calendar Reminder)

    Entire folders and contents deleted:

    c:\program files\microsoft works\workscor
    c:\program files\microsoft works\Template
    c:\program files\microsoft works\1033\Manual
    c:\program files\microsoft works\1033\Tasks
    c:\program files\microsoft works\1033\Wizards
    c:\program files\microsoft works\1033
    c:\program files\microsoft works
    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\works shared\sound
    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\works shared\1033
    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\works shared
    c:\windows\start menu\programs\microsoft works

    I believe that it might set the path to this batch file in the "RunOnce" registry key and then force a reboot so that it runs as the system reboots, but I can't be sure.

    I think that the secret to this removal tool's success is that:

    1. It firstly kills of a process known to interfere with uninstallation
    2. Removes the registry keys before forcing a reboot
    3. Deletes folders and files before windows actually boots into windows again.

    I am trying to find a list of files, folders, and registry entries created by your installation of Works 2000, but I can't seem to find such a listing.  Which version do you have installed?  Works Suite 2000,  Works Suite Basic 2000, or Works 2000? List of included components here:

    If it is Works SUITE 2000, then the uninstallation would not only ask for the first CD, but would then also ask for the 2nd one to complete the uninstall.  Until that 2nd one is inserted, nothing would seem to have been removed, but this would be completed during the 2nd stage.

    Did you originally install Works to the default folder, or did you select some other folder?  This cleanup utility will ONLY work if Works is installed to the default folder "c:\program files\microsoft works".

    Microsoft does stress a few things to make sure of when using the works cleanup utility, and then the microsoft installer cleanup utility.  Adding my own steps into their advice, I think that you should perform them in the following order (*** I wrote this earlier, so some of it will no longer apply as the uninstallation will have removed much of Works now, and Works won't be listed in Add/Remove Programs any more ***):

    Use Works "options" menu to disable as many things from running at startup as possible.  Works loads "calendar reminders", its own "Task Launcher", etc.

    Disassociate as many things as possible that are integrated or shared with Works, for instance you may have your AntiVirus program providing an additional toolbar button, and that setting MAY persist and be holding a .dll file in memory even though the vast majority of Works files are now gone.

    See if Add/Remove programs will allow you to uninstall any updates or patches that have been installed, such as Office 2000 SR-1 Update.

    Reboot after you have done this so that those elements are no longer loaded into memory and still reliant on Works, or vice-versa.

    1. Start the computer in "clean boot mode" as detailed in these articles that refers to the "system configuration utility tool (msconfig.exe):

    I suggest going for the "diagnostic startup" and choosing what you don't want to load at startup as long as you have an idea of what type of things you are likely to be asked.  A run-through after creating a backup from the "general" tab will give you an idea of what to expect.  You want to disable as much as possible from running that could interfere with removal of Works, for instance AntiVirus programs,

    2. Use Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs or double click on the "LocalFile" (.msi file) named in the registry.  If you have a note of the "UninstallString" from the registry as I described earlier, then this could be run from a batch file within Windows if the entry for Works no longer appears in the list in Add/Remove Programs.

    Generally, I would suggest rebooting at this stage because uninstalling normally doesn't always remove everything UNTIL it is rebooted, but I am going to stick my neck out here and suggest that you DON'T and just continue to step 3 now.

    3. Run the works 2000 cleanup utility (Wks2kll.exe)

    When the works cleanup finishes, and you are prompted to reboot, click "LATER"

    4. Run the Windows Installer Cleanup utility

    I am hesitant to suggest installing Office 2003 while still booted into "clean boot" mode, because I am sure this installation routine will need to boot your computer perhaps more than once and may need some of the processes/programs that were disabled in diagnostics mode with msconfig.  I would say that you should, at this stage, re-enable the items that you had previously disabled.

    5. NOW reboot.

    That's about as much as I can suggest without going for a complete format and reinstall of Windows.

    You COULD always try using the following batch file and .REG file from DOS.  I have adapted it from the one in the Cleanup Utility

    Batch file.  Name is unimportant.  Something like "RemWks.bat" in the C:\WINDOWS folder.

    @echo off
    ::use variables to keep lines as short as possible
    set PFW="c:\program files\microsoft works
    set CF=c:\progra~1\common~1\micros~1
    set CFW=workss~1
    set SMF="c:\windows\start menu\programs\startup\microsoft works"
    ::testing for presence avoids file not found errors
    ::get rid of works shared text converters
    if exist %CF%\textco~1\works3*.cnv
    if exist %CF%\textco~1\works4*.cnv
    if exist %CF%\textco~1\works5*.cnv
    ::get rid of works shared folders
    if exist %CF%\%CFW%\sound\NUL deltree /y %CF%\%CFW%\sound
    if exist %CF%\%CFW%\1033\NUL deltree /y %CF%\%CFW%\1033
    if exist %CF%\%CFW%\NUL deltree /y %CF%\%CFW%
    ::get rid of works program folders
    if exist %PFW%\workscor\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\workscor"
    if exist %PFW%\template\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\template"
    if exist %PFW%\1033\manual\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\1033\manual"
    if exist %PFW%\1033\tasks\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\1033\tasks"
    if exist %PFW%\1033\wizards\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\1033\wizards"
    if exist %PFW%\1033\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\1033"
    if exist %PFW%\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%"
    if exist %PFW%\1033\manual\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\1033\manual"
    if exist %PFW%\1033\manual\NUL" deltree /y %PFW%\1033\manual"
    ::get rid of s menu folder and target file
    if exist %SMF%" deltree /y %SMF%"
    if exist %CFW%\%CFW%\wkcalr~1.exe del %CFW%\wkcalr~1.exe
    ::run script to remove registry keys
    start /w regedit remwks.reg
    ::cleanup variables
    set PFW=
    set CF=
    set CFW=
    set SMF=

    Registry script.  name IS important - "RemWks.reg" in the C:\WINDOWS folder.

    ;removes keys created by works or works suite


    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Works Suite]


    [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Works Suite]

    Just change directory to the C:\windows folder and enter the command  RemWks, then power off and restart once it finishes.

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