Add and Remove Programs in the Control Panel is often a vital step in troubleshooting computer issues. Many users know where to find this in Windows XP, but the location is slightly different in Windows Vista and 7.
First are instruction for Windows XP and following are instructions for Windows Vista or 7. For Windows XP systems:
1. To begin, click the Start menu (the button in the lower-left corner of your screen) and then the Control Panel, pictured below.
2. If you have the Classic Control Panel view (pictured below), double-click ‘Add or Remove Programs.’ If you have the Category view, simply click ‘Add or Remove Programs.’ (If you like, you can change between the Control Panel views by selecting ‘Switch to Category View’ or ‘Switch to Classic View’ in the upper-left corner, circled below.)
3. Select your program from the list of programs that appear.
Note: The program selected in the example above, Eraser, has both Change and Remove buttons. Not all programs have the “Change” button, and some programs show them combined as ‘Change/Remove.’
If you are required to remove an installed update, check ‘Show updates’ at the top. It is NOT recommended to remove installed updates unless instructed to by a technician, Microsoft bulletin or guide.
4. To remove your program, click “Remove” and follow the program wizard that appears. This wizard differs from program to program.
Note: clicking ‘Change’ will allow you to change or repair the program, which typically requires the original program disc or installation file. Remember that change is not available for all programs.
Now for Windows Vista or Windows 7 systems:
1. Click the Start menu (the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of your screen) and then the Control Panel, pictured below.
2. If you have the Category View Control Panel, click ‘Uninstall a program’ under Programs. If you have the Classic View Control Panel (pictured below), select ‘Programs and Features’ in the Control Panel list. You may need to scroll down to find it.
Note: if you wish to switch between the category and classic Control Panel views, in Windows Vista you can select between the Control Panel modes in the upper-left corner, pictured above…
…and in Windows 7, you can select between the modes by selecting ‘View By’ in the upper-right corner, circled above. ‘Large icons’ and ‘Small icons’ are very similar to the classic view most users are familiar with.
3. After selecting Programs and Features or Uninstall a program, you will be in the Windows Vista/Windows 7 version of Add and Remove Programs, which is called Programs and Features.
4. Select the desired program in the list, click ‘Uninstall’ and follow the program uninstall wizard.
Note: clicking ‘Change’ will allow you to change the program- typically adding or removing features- and clicking ‘Repair’ will attempt to repair the program. Keep in mind that both options usually require the original program disc or installation file and that the two options are not available for all programs.
Whatever version of Windows you use, be very cautious in removing programs: just because you don’t recognize it doesn’t mean that another program doesn’t rely on it, and removal is NOT reversible, so you’ll have to completely reinstall a program from its download file or installation disc to get it to function again if you accidentally remove it.
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