S/W keeps trying to install but never finishes and can't be removed

I have one user who when they login or open Word or Outlook it starts the Install shield for Scansoft PDF creator 2. I can't seem to stop this. They don't remember downloading it but I uninstalled it, ran the vendors remove tool, removed all registry items pertaining to it and yet it keeps trying to uninstall. I can hit cancel and it'll stay gone for a while but keeps opening up when the user tries to do anything.

Is there any way of preventing this from trying to install over and over?
Axis52401Security AnalystAsked:
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
There may be add-ins in these programs that are looking for Scansoft. If you run Outlook in safe mode (outlook /safe), does the problem go away? If so, check Tools, Add-ons and remove anything related to scansoft.
Axis52401Security AnalystAuthor Commented:
I checked the Addons in Word and Outlook and there is nothing there, Also it starts it's install as soon as the user logs on before she opens any thing at all.
Open regedit and type CTRL+F  to perform a find on the phrase Run, and make sure the box is UNCHECKED for "Match whole string only".

Proceed through the hits, reviewing for entries that start the install routine in question.
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Axis52401Security AnalystAuthor Commented:
I already removed anything having to do with Scansoft from the registry using their manual remove guide.
To clarify:
Does it come up when the user logs on to the pc?
If not, does it occur when they start an office application without opening a document?
If not, does it occur when they open a document?
If it does, was the document created while the plugin was installed?
What happens if they open a document created on a machine without scansoft?
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
Sorry Jason, but to be clear, did you try running in safe mode? I know you didn't see anything obvious, but there are other ways add-ins could be loading. That is, assuming you have Office 2007 or 2010.

It sounds like the usual items have already been checked, so we need to check the unusual ones now. So some things may sound like what you have already tried, but we just want to be sure. I think in the registry, Thomasacook was referring to HKLM/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/run.

I suppose if there is a broken install, its worth a shot to install it and uninstall it again using the proper uninstall program (assuming it works).
Axis52401Security AnalystAuthor Commented:
Thomas; It starts as soon as the desktop comes up. I can hit cancel a few times then it starts back up when she starts working in either Internet Explorer, Outlook, etc It's not dependent on it being an Office Application. These documents were not created by her or using that application.

Tbone: I haven't tried safe mode yet I did check the HKLM/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/run KEY. We Use Office 2007 but it can come up when opening Internet Explorer too. She did find a CD so apparently she had it installed at one time. I tried installing it again hoping that would let me remove it but is stops and says a previous installation of this program is still pending.
Looks like it was corrupted somehow. See if using the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility can find that application and remove it.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
Thanks for the feedback. I assume then you have tried letting it finish? If that doesn't work it sounds like the key would be to stop it from thinking there is a pending install.
use the msi clean up utililty to completely remove the program and manually delete entries in program files as well as the registry entires you removed. Also look in your IE addons if it is listed disable this addon
Axis52401Security AnalystAuthor Commented:
Grey, I tried the Windows Installer cleanup utility. It installs but when I run it it brings up a list of S/W and says to select what I want to remove but this Scansoft S/W that keeps trying to install isn't in its list.

Tbone, When I try letting it finish it errors out with error 1571 and does nothing. How can I stop it thinking there is an install Pending.

Not sure if this is related, but take a look here and see if there are any add-ins to remove.

I know you searched through the registry already, but try the steps mentioned here. See if there is anything there that you might have missed initially or that may be related to the Scansoft product.
The other thing you can do is view the task manager (CTRL+ALT+DEL) while this process starts up and see if you can identify which process starts up that is responsible for ScanSoft.

When you identify it in the task manager, right click on that process and select "Open Containing Folder".

Another window will open, showing you where that program is.  Highlight the persistent file and move it to your recycling bin.  Close out and try running your Office programs again and see if this solved your problem.
Axis52401Security AnalystAuthor Commented:
Tony, The only process that it uses is the msiexec.exe or Windows installer
Then there are still some entries in the registry that are calling this to reinstall.

My suspicion is that the reason it manages to remain persistent is because PDF writing programs can continue to exist as Printers.

Go to "Start","Settings","Control Panel", "Printers".

See if ScanSoft or any other PDF writer appears there.
While I'm thinking about it, there are two other things I wanted to mention:

No.1, if you haven't done so, you can log off, and log in as another user profile and see if this happens again under a new profile.   If it does not, then you have isolated the issue to just that profile, and can take steps accordingly.


No. 2, you did mention that it starts up upon boot up.

So here's what you do:  If you haven't done so, download install and run CCleaner.  Go into "TOOLS", "STARTUP".

DISABLE the entries that correspond with ScanSoft.  While you are in there, if you know what you are doing, disable anything else that is unnecessary at boot up.

Let me know if this solves your problem.
Of course, after you disable those startup entries in CCleaner that make any sort of reference to ScanSoft, do a reboot.

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