Windows 98 - Remove Program

Posted on 2006-05-02
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
It has been a while since I have worked with Windows 98 so I pose this question. I need to remove a program that is not in the add/remove programs. If I remember correctly, you have to delete the directory, remove from the start menu, and remove as many remnants as possible from the registry. Is that correct?

Are there any particulars on the above method that I left out?

Are there any programs out there that one could get to do this for them? However, I really don't want to spend any money.

Question by:tmcghee
    LVL 42

    Assisted Solution

    yes.  start with the registry keys, and be sure to make a backup of your registry before you begin.  delete the directory, but dont empty the trash so you can restore if there is a problem.  reboot and verify all is ok.  then empty the trash.
    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    Before you try to manually rip a program out of Windows 98, try this FREE program (which I have used myself when the program didn't show in the add/remove list)

    Add Remove Pro

    If Add Remove Pro doesn't show the entry, then proceed with a manual cleanup.
    LVL 27

    Assisted Solution

    This article is useful, particularly the "Unwise Wizard" method.
    "Uninstalling Windows software":

    Here's another useful, free utility, "Add-Remove Pro 2.08":
    Displays the entries in the Add/Remove Programs list of Windows, checks if they are valid, and uninstalls the selected program or removes the entry from the list:   
    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution


    What is the name of the program you are trying to uninstall, and what version is it?
    Older programs may simply create a program folder and copy all of their files into one place, while others install files that they scatter around in Windows System folders.  In addition to this if a program has replaced any of the pre-existing files on your computer with a more recent file version, then the original file may have been backed up and would normally be reinstated only through the proper Add/Remove programs process.

    There are a lot of different installation methods used by program installers, and manual removal of folders, files, and registry settings should only be done as a last resort after exhausting all other possibilities.

    If this is a program that you intentionally installed at some stage, then I suggest reinstalling exactly the same version of the program may recreate the entry in the Add/Remove Programs list to allow for proper uninstallation.  It would be important to ONLY reinstall exactly the same version as that which is currently installed, because installing any other version would further complicate the issue.

    It is possible that your registry has been restored to a previous state as it existed before the program was installed, in which case the Add/Remove Programs listing wouldn't display any more.

    Expert4XP's suggested freeware program sounds like a good and essential step to try in the first instance.
    Assuming that it doesn't manage to find and remove the program, then you should try other options BEFORE attempting manual removal.

    The entries in the Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs are generally listed there from registry entries.  Open REGEDIT from the Start Menu's "Run" field, and navigate down the left-hand pane to the following key:


    There will be a lot of sub-keys named either with logical names, or using numeric ones when you expand the "Uninstall" key.
    Click on each one and look across in the right-hand pane for evidence of the named program.  The names that appear in the Add/Remove Programs list are taken from the values of the "DisplayName" line in each of these sub-keys.  The command executed when you choose to remove that program from the Add/Remove Programs listing is taken from the value set against "UninstallString".

    If you see one of these keys containing a blank value against the "DisplayName" value, then take a look at the value set against the "UninstallString".  A blank DisplayName may prevent it being listed in Add/Remove programs, but you may still have a command that you could execute to begin uninstallation.

    It is most unlikely that you will find a remaining key for this program to be listed in the Add/Remove Programs list, but take your time to inspect the descriptions.  Some "DisplayNames" don't always echo the program name exactly.

    Assuming that no registry key exists to match the program, and that you no longer have the original setup program that was used to install the program in question, then you may be able to find the Log File that was created at the time the program was installed.  In a lot of cases, an uninstallation command uses a log file of some kind so that it knows what files, folders, shortcuts and registry settings to remove.  Going back to the sub-keys you will have seen in REGEDIT under the key:
    you may have seen "UninstallString" values like this command:
    C:\WINDOWS\iun6002.exe "C:\Program Files\AutoPlay Media Studio 4.0\Unindata\irunin.ini"

    All that command does is run the program "iun6002.exe" specifying the file "irunin.INI" as the log file to use for the instructions.  This file, when opened in Notepad, may or may not be logical enough to gather a list of all that the program installer originally created.  A setup log file could have been created with names such as any one of the following:
    Setup.log, SetupLog.txt, Program_Name_Uninst.txt, Uninst.ini, Uninstall.inf, etc, etc.
    and may reside in the program folder created by the installer, or elsewhere.
    For example, the DivX Multimedia Codec on my system is uninstalled using the command:
    C:\WINDOWS\unvise32.exe C:\Program Files\DivX\uninstal.log
    or the popular Ad-Aware program by Lavasoft:

    You should have a look first of all at all files in the program's own folder and sub-folders for an install or uninstall log file.  Do a file search for all files containing part of the program's main executable file name, eg. if the program was named "All Singing All Dancing Pro" and was launched from the file named "AllSing.exe", then search for files named *alls*.* and see if it lists an install or uninstall log file.

    If none exist, then look for a file with a name like "Uninst.exe" in the program's folder.  Those are usually the files to which shortcuts named "Uninstall Program Name" appear in the Start Menu along with the shortcuts to run the program, and just double-clicking that file would begin the uninstallation.  An example of this is shown for a simple program named "Crap Cleaner":  "C:\Program Files\CCleaner\uninst.exe"

    Uninstall commands can be quite complex, and the following example of the utility program for a Canon Scanner would only really be made known to you if an "UninstallString" registry value existed:
    C:\WINDOWS\IsUninst.exe -f"C:\Program Files\Canon\ScanGear Toolbox CS\Uninst.isu" -c"C:\Program Files\Canon\ScanGear Toolbox CS\uninst.dll"

    If you see an INF file that seems to be an uninstall intructions file, then this is possibly the type that is executed using a commands like these:

    For the utility named TweakUI:
    C:\WINDOWS\rundll.exe setupx.dll,InstallHinfSection DefaultUninstall 4 C:\WINDOWS\Inf\Tweakui.Inf

    or for the Windows 98 update patch Q840315:
    RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection C:\WINDOWS\INF\QFE\W98\840315UN.INF

    Another possibility is that the uninstallation routine is launched using the actual program executable, but by adding a parameter like /u or /uninst to the command.  For example, the WinImage program installed on my system:

    or for the WinZip Command Line tools:
    C:\Program Files\WinZip\winzip32.exe /auninstall wzcline

    There is an additional installation method used by the most recent installation packages, and that is the one which uses the "Windows Installer" method.  This involves using the Windows program file MSIEXEC.EXE with the appropriate command.  When installed, these packages will create an *.MSI file normally in the folder C:\Windows\INSTALLER and will give it a random name.  This msi file is used to Install, Repair, Modify or Uninstall the program (ie. extra options not previously available from older installer packages).  If you RIGHT-Click on each of the *.msi files in that folder and choose "Properties", you will see what that program it relates to under the Summary tab.

    You would also see two new Right-Click Menu options for these MSI files, namely "Install" and Uninstall".
    These options pass the following commands (respectively) to C:\Windows\System\MSIEXEC.EXE.  You wouldn't have to specify the path to the msiexec.exe file if you were typing the command manually:

    msiexec /i drive:\path_to\filename.msi
    msiexec /x drive:\path_to\filename.msi

    If this was the type of installer package used to install your program, then running the "Windows Installer Cleanup Utility" can assist with removing left-overs created by that installer package, BUT should NOT generally be used as an Add/Remove Programs alternative:;en-us;290301

    Hopefully the program suggested by Expert4XP will work for you to save you from hunting out files, but if it doesn't and you have any queries about possibles that you have found, just ask.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    >>> "Are there any programs out there ... I really don't want to spend any money". <<<
    Neither do I, hence my acquired knowledge of where to look :-)

    Actually, here's an odd thing.  Some programs require that you still have the original "Source" files in the same place for an uninstallation process to be performed.  One example that I see on my system is a utility named "Multi Rename" that I installed a while ago. The "UninstallString" is shown in the registry as the original setup file (MRSETUP.EXE) with the path pointing to the folder on my CD-Rom Drive from which I installed it.

    Another thing that I discovered was on an old Compaq computer that came preinstalled with Windows 98se, MS Works 2000, and a lot of other programs and applications.  The user's "Recovery CD" was scratched and he wanted to uninstall Microsoft Works Suite and install Microsoft Office 2000 because he needed some of the applications from MS Office (that aren't installed by Works) for a college course.

    Although listed in Add/Remove Programs, trying to uninstall MS Works kept calling for the file "wks2000.MSI".  Presumably this was all packaged up on the Recovery CD, so the process failed.  I identified the original setup file as a randomly named (numeric name) *.MSI file in the folder C:\Windows\Installer, and was able to uninstall MS Works by copying that file to the root of the C: Drive, renaming it as "wks2000.msi", and then running the command:
    msiexec /x c:\wks2000.msi

    Just some other useful (or useless, as the case may be) info for you.

    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    yes use the search to find any associated files then delete  them.
    Then remove any reg entries.:
    run the disc cleanup utility in system tools.
    Select Start > Run

    In the Open: line type regedit and press Enter.

    Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

    The Add/Remove Programs list is built from the keys listed beneath the Uninstall folder.

    Locate the key for the program that has been uninstalled, right click the key and click Delete.

    Clicking the keys in the left pane and looking at the information provided in the right pane can help in identifying the associated programs. Err on the side of caution in this operation. Once the key has been deleted it's impossible to use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall if you make an incorrect selection.

    Then run a regestry cleaner to remove any old left overs. Even running a trial version helps.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Thank you, tmcghee

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