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"Programs and Features" program list icons are wrong.  Vista.

Posted on 2014-04-03
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Last Modified: 2014-04-27
I'm cleaning up an infected computer and am about done with the cleanup.

However, the icons in Control Panel/Programs and Features list are unusual AND some of the normal information is missing in the columns AND the Uninstall button or any such selection is missing entirely.

For the most part this isn't a show-stopper but I need to fix it - so drastic measures aren't yet warranted.
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Question by:Fred Marshall
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by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 39975755
pls share the screen shot.
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by:Lee Ingalls
ID: 39975796
Sure it's not just the Category View rather than Large or Small Icons?
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39975811
the Uninstall button
or any such selection
is missing entirely.
Any view, right click, etc.
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by:Lee Ingalls
ID: 39975821
Even after you select an item? Uninstall does not display until after you select something.
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by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 39975825
run SFC /SCANNOW

then check it.
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by:chilternPC
ID: 39975831
try using the System File Checker. Its  a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files from the windows discs.
this is the link on Microsfot to show you how to use it:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929833
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39975850
I had run sfc earlier but am doing it again.
Here is the screen shot.
Capture.JPG
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39975914
It didn't appear that sfc did anything for this problem but it did replace what it called corrupted files.
In the mean time, I found something that may help:
The Uninstall option *is* available for a very few programs:
If you look at the screen shot, there are 3 programs with a light blue icon with a symbol for a CD/DVD disk in the lower right hand corner.  These 3 will turn on the Uninstall option.  None of the others with the generic icons will do that.
So maybe if we can fix the icons, the Uninstall issue will be fixed along with it.
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by:Jason Watkins
ID: 39975976
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39976445
I did rebuild the icon database.  It didn't change anything.  There must be another place that these icons reside.
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by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 39976459
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by:Jason Watkins
ID: 39976474
I believe we are on Windows Vista (see title).
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by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 39976499
ohh you are right, thanks Firebar.

Try to fix registry by using CCleaner. it is already installed on your system.
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39976640
Yes, CCleaner is there because I've used it already.

Where are those icons stored?
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by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 39976684
not icons. i suspect the registry is missing.
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39976965
I'm sure this computer has a registry as I have searched it for such things.  :-)

Perhaps I should have said "icon references".  I did find such things.  But I'm not sure what to do about this.

I tried using Revo Uninstaller and got a rather different list of installed programs....
It makes one almost wonder of those with the non-working icons have already been removed.  But that would be quite a list!  And why are the working icons not normal ones?
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by:nobus
ID: 39977432
it may be needed to run sfc several times

you can also run a repair :  http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial148.html
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39986910
I believe I found the section of the registry that might hold these things - at least part of what's necessary.  I found all the new installs there (the ones that have Uninstall available as I'd mentioned).  And, the only other entries were long strings with nothing interesting in them.  I didn't find the list of names that show up in Programs and Features.  They must be somewhere....

I would love to run a repair of Vista SP2 but not just a startup repair.
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by:nobus
ID: 39988019
>>  I would love to run a repair of Vista SP2 but not just a startup repair  <<   any reason?  i never had problems with it
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39996742
I think this happened as a result of one of the cleanup programs:
Malwarebytes .. not likely I think.
CCleaner .. maybe
RogueKiller .. ?
HitManPro .. ?

Anyway, now I have a cleaned up Windows 8 system using the same tools and the Programs and Features list is suddenly quite short.  
So I'm suspecting one of these tools.
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by:nobus
ID: 39996994
i suggest NOT to use these "cleaning" tools -and certainly not on automatic
but if my memory is correct - do these not have a "restore " uption, to undo thair actions?
so - try the undo
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39999716
nobus: What might you suggest one use instead then?

I had already done a restore back from CCleaner and got no change as a result.
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39999728
I'm now rather convinced that this problem can't be addressed directly but, rather, by understanding the registry contents.  Questions like:

- Where is the Programs and Features list populated from (presumably in the registry).

- What would one do to manually add an item to the list without doing an install?
(Is it simple or complex?)
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by:nobus
ID: 40000894
i suggest to use NONE -you don't need them; if they help in some way, they cause trouble in another
after all what is your goal for using one?
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40000941
My goal in using them is to continue a history of years of successful cleanups.

Would you care to suggest an alternative beyond NONE...  where does that leave one?
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by:nobus
ID: 40001321
i clean up manually - then i know what is cleaned, and can restore it also.
if you look among the experts - none will suggest using them - and if you want to- never on automatic
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40002137
nobus:  Wow - you da man!!  How in the world do you do that?  Seriously....
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by:nobus
ID: 40003279
if i need to clean out registry settings for a specific software, i use regseeker, to search for them; it lists all entries - then i decide to remove them or not
for uninstalling programs - you can use Revo - which also lists the files and registry entries - you decide

http://www.hoverdesk.net/                        Regseeker
http://www.revouninstaller.com/                        RevoUninstall
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40004372
nobus: How do you determine the "specific software"?
Thanks for the regseeker suggestion.
Thanks for the info re Revo.  I've used it but not frequently and not for the kind of information that you mention.

I'm reading about Windows Installer entries in the registry.  Maybe that's the place to start.  But any hints would be helpful.
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by:nobus
ID: 40004437
that is the one i want to remove
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40005414
nobus:  Well sure.  But how do you determine what you want to remove?  I'm thinking here in the context of a system that is infected with parasites.  You have to find them first and there's something in doing that, no?
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by:nobus
ID: 40005948
for virus, i use  a freeware AV, like AVG, or panda Cloud
if needed - i install and run these :
hijackthis
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php                         MBAM
http://majorgeeks.com/RogueKiller_d6983.html                  Roguekiller
up to now - i never had problems with these

for these ccleaner is not a good option, and hitmanpro i don't use - to me it looks like it's trying to do too much...without informing you what it does (but that's only my opinion)
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40007196
nobus: Ah!  So we aren't that far apart after all.  Thanks.

RegSeeker allows a lot more insight into what's in the Registry.  Thanks!

HitManPro ran at boot time is a big help in getting rid of ransomware.

Until recently I've never seen a problem with the Programs and Features list being perturbed.  This is based on years of experience.  Yet, I've seen two this week that were perturbed.....
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40007208
nobus:  back to:
>>  I would love to run a repair of Vista SP2 but not just a startup repair  <<   any reason?  i never had problems with it
Perhaps this is semantics as I tend to get hung up on words.  I don't see all that many Vista machines.  My impression from "Startup Repair" is that it's something like fixboot - thus quite limited in scope.  So, if I need to repair a Vista install in a broader (perhaps "not well defined") context then it doesn't *sound like* what I need.
Comment?
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by:nobus
ID: 40008278
no - but it's a first one to run - you'll see if it detects the install, and will do a repair
after it runs, you also get the option for system restore, Cmd prompt etc..
unfortunately, i don't know any other "repair" tool
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40009436
nobus:
Well when Microsoft changed the terminology from Repair Install to Upgrade it created more than a bit of confusion in my humble opinion.
One can run an Upgrade in order to repair an installation.
It seems to me that you pointed me to this:
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/88236-repair-install-vista.html
Unfortunately this has to be launched from within Windows normal mode so at least it has to be working to some degree.  It wouldn't be a problem in a case like this one.

I just wanted to be clear.  I'm sure we understand things the same way here.

anyway ..... I don't see how this could help with the current question about Programs and Features being messed up and how to fix THAT.  

I'm still looking for where to look in the registry for the Programs and Features entries or fragments thereof.  I'm sure that RegSeeker will help a lot with that but I'm still not able to find it on my own.  Maybe one couild install a program and do a before and after "dif" on the registry.  I want to be able to *fix* this kind of situation.
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 40010055
ok; maybe this helps :
1- check if the cleaner tools did not delete any of the Missing program files - or hid them
2- what happens if you reinstall the program? does it show properly in the list now?
3-rename the control panel items , as shown here :  http://www.hightechdad.com/2008/12/28/fix-it-opening-control-panel-crashes-windows-explorer-on-xpvista/
4-finally i found this - look if it helps :  http://www.askvg.com/enable-hidden-secret-control-panel-items-in-windows-vista-and-7/

here command syntax for control panel commands :  http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/a/control-panel-command-line.htm

you can try this command to open any installed program :  https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/4486.accessing-the-control-panel-via-the-commandline.aspx
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Author Closing Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40010537
I never did figure out what had happened or what to do about it.
nobus surely helped in many aspects of this issue and issues like it.
Thanks for sticking with me on this.
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by:nobus
ID: 40011018
imo - if you spend more than a couple of hours "fixing" a corrupt OS - it's always better to do a factory restore, or fresh install
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40026103
nobus: I almost agree but not with the "always"...  :-)

imo - one needs to consider WHOSE TIME you're messing with!
In some cases, the installation (OS, apps, devices, personalized configurations) is a huge big deal for the user.
In other cases, (like a standardized workstation for POS perhaps) it's not a big deal at all.

I have made a lot of happy customers because they weren't confronted with a "brand new" unconfigured computer when I returned it to them.  And, they were happy to pay for the work.  So continued learning with the objective of fixing remains warranted.
I would also note that a broken "Progams and Features" may be entirely acceptable (to them, not to me).

I understand that it's *technically* better to do a factory restore or fresh install.  But that's about the "technical goodness" of the end result.  But "overall goodness" of the end result is in the eye of the beholder.

This leads me to a related topic:
- tech's who work for paying customers need to worry about the customer's needs and perceptions.
- tech's who work for a salary sometimes don't seem to care that much about other employee's situation.  If the computer works then all is good and you can fix your own stuff whenever you like.
Obviously these are not intended to be hard and fast "rules" but simply observations of tendencies.
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by:nobus
ID: 40026632
in these cases - best keep an image of a freshly installed OS - with everything installed, and updated, to be restored in 1/2 hour.
you'll need storage capacity - but then - you're talking about saving time, so that would be my first option
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