Most of the time, removing a program from your computer is a relatively simple operation: open the Program and Features control panel, choose the unwanted application from the list, and click Uninstall (or Remove) then follow the prompts.
Unfortunately, there are always exceptions to the rule and there will come a time when this approach won’t work. This guide will help you get rid of the programs that – for one reason or another – refuse to go quietly. Before you get started, it’s worth noting that if you think the troublesome program is a virus or spyware of some sort, check out our guide to removing infections instead. If you’re sure it isn’t a virus then read on.
1. Locate uninstaller utility
Click Start, select All Programs and look for the program’s shortcut folder. Expand this and look for an option to remove the program. If you can see it there, click it and follow the prompts. If it’s not there, click Start>Computer and locate the program folder under either C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86). Look for an uninstaller utility there, and double-click it to remove the program.
2. Try program installer
If your program was installed from a disc, reinsert it and double-click the setup or install file. If you downloaded it from the internet, visit the program’s website and download the installer file again, if necessary. Double-click this – you may find the installer detects the existing installation and offers you a ‘remove’ option. Selecting this should remove the program from your computer.
3. Install over the top
If the option to remove the program doesn’t appear, simply reinstall it over the top of itself. This should recreate all the missing elements, including the all-important program installer. Try the Program and features control panel again after doing so, to see if the program installer is now available to use.
4. Check the web
Look on the manufacturer’s website for program removal information – it’s usually found in the Support section. Also check to see if any manual removal tools are provided – this is often the case with security programs, for example.
5. Get third-party help
AppRemover is designed to thoroughly remove a wide variety of security programs from your PC – so try this if all else fails. For other programs, try the free 30-day trial of Revo Uninstaller Pro – use the Forced uninstall option to try to remove the unwanted application.
6. Troubleshoot error problems
If you can find a program uninstaller but the install routine doesn’t work for any reason, a specialist Microsoft Fixit Tool might be able to help. You can also check the video guide above for other troubleshooting tips to try.