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How to Remove Phantom Names from Installed Program List

Some uninstalled software refuses to leave the list of installed programs. Despite your efforts to remove it, and even if the program itself no longer exists on your PC, its name continues to show up in the list.

Before hurling the keyboard into the monitor, take one last stab at a technical way of solving the problem. Follow these steps only when a program has been removed, but its name remains in the list of installed programs:

  1. Just in case, set a restore point by using System Restore and then back up the Registry.

  2. Open the Control Panel.

  3. Bring forth the window that lists installed programs on your PC.

    • In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, choose Uninstall a Program from beneath the Programs headings.

    • In Windows XP, open the Add or Remove Programs icon.

  4. Make a note of the name of the program that appears in the list and shouldn’t appear in the list.

  5. Press Win+R to bring forth the Run dialog box.

  6. Type regedit into the box and click the OK button.

    The Registry Editor window appears.

  7. In Windows Vista, type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button.

  8. Press Ctrl+F to bring up the Find dialog box.

  9. In the Find dialog box, type the exact text of the program’s name — the program that says it’s installed but isn’t.

  10. Click the Find Next button.

    The Registry is scoured for the matching text. Most likely, it’s found in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer part of the Registry.

  11. Press the Tab key to select the folder containing the Product Name key.

    The folder is given a complex number as a name. This number is Microsoft’s way of making the Registry user hostile.

  12. Press the Delete key to remove the item.

  13. Click the Yes button to confirm the deletion.

  14. Press the F3 key and repeat steps 10 through 12 to remove any additional entries if found.

  15. When no more entries are found, you can close the Registry Editor window.

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