Cleanup Windows Program Installs - Uninstall Unnecessary Programs in Vista

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TIP #18: Uninstall Unnecessary Programs

Most new computers come bundled with pre-installed, extraneous software that you may never use and may not even know that you have. Many of these are merely trial versions that manufacturers hope you will upgrade. Some may even be so bold as to keep hurling unsolicited pop-ups at you as you work. Uninstalling these programs will significantly boost system performance.

As with junk software, getting rid of any old, rarely or never-used programs will free up space on your hard disk. Uninstalling these programs to completely remove them from your system will also boost system performance. Here’s how:

How to Uninstall a Program in Windows Vista

You can uninstall a program to remove it completely from your system. Alternatively, you may just make changes to the program’s configuration by removing or adding specific options. Here’s how:

1. Click on the Start button. Select Control Panel and then click Programs.

2. Select Programs and Features.

3. Click on the program that you want to uninstall or change.

  • Click Uninstall to delete the program.
  • Click Change or Repair to change/repair a program.

4. Enter your password or give confirmation if you are prompted to.

5. Close the Programs and Features dialogue box when you are done.

TIPS: If you don’t see the program that you want to uninstall listed, then it is likely that it may not have been written for Vista. Check the information that came with the program for instructions on how to uninstall the program.

TIP #19: Use the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to Fix Failed Program Installs

If a software installation or upgrade fails, it will leave you with a partially-installed program. Trying to reinstall the program will often fail. The Windows Installer CleanUp Utility can be used to remove the installer configuration information for programs that failed to install. While it does not actually remove the program files, it gets rid of installer information, which enables you to attempt the installation or upgrade again, or to uninstall the program completely.

  1. Download and install the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility, which is available at the Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Log on as a computer administrator and run the utility.
  3. In the Windows Installer Clean Up dialog box, select the particular programs from the Installed Products list.
  4. Get rid of all of the entries and other information that relates to the programs you have selected, including any entries found under Add Or Remove Programs in the Control Panel.


It you would like to attempt to re-install the program after running the Windows Installer, be sure to re-install it into the same folder in which it had originally been installed, so as to avoid any duplication of files on your hard drive.

This post is part of the series: 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista

Want to speed up your Vista PC? This series will tell you how - from the basics to more advanced techniques. Soon you’ll have your Vista PC humming along in tip-top shape.

  1. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 1 - Get your PC Vista Ready
  2. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 2 - Optimize the Windows Aero User Interface
  3. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 3 - Optimize Vista’s Visual Effects
  4. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 4 - Disable Excess Vista Features
  5. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 5 - Disable Vista’s Side Bar and Gadgets
  6. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 6 - Optimize or Disable Flip 3D
  7. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 7 - Delete Unnecessary Files
  8. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 8 - Uninstall Unnecessary Programs
  9. 21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 9 - Disable Unnecessary Services