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Add or Remove Programs\windows\system32\appwiz.cpl

Uninstall applications and add or remove Windows XP components.

To Open

Control Panel Add or Remove Programs

Command Prompt appwiz.cpl


The Add or Remove Programs window has three sections:

Change or Remove Programs

A list of all your installed applications, or at least those applications that were registered for uninstallation, is displayed here. The Add or Remove Programs dialog doesn't actually perform any software removal; rather, it launches the uninstall utility that was registered when the application was originally installed. Some uninstallers have the capability to selectively add or remove components of the application, while others simply delete all the files that were copied during installation.

Select an application by clicking its name. Note that this listing can take a little getting used to, as the entries change size when they're selected. If the application has provided such information, you'll see the amount of disk space consumed by the installation, as well as how often the program is used. Click Change/Remove to launch the uninstaller for the selected program.

Uninstaller programs vary widely, but most will display a progress indicator and explain what they're removing, what they're not removing, and whether or not you need to restart your computer. Along the way, though, you may be prompted to remove shared files. Each shared file is registered with Windows, along with a numeric counter; applications that use the file increase the counter when they're installed and decrease the counter when they're removed. When the counter reaches zero, uninstallers assume the files are no longer needed and prompts for their removal; unless you specifically know that a file should not be deleted for some reason, just answer yes (see Figure 4-6).

Figure 4-6. The Add or Remove Programs dialog lets you uninstall any application on your computer

Add New Programs

There's not much point to this section. The first button simply looks for the file, setup.exe, in your floppy drive and CD drive, and if found, launches it. The second button launches Windows Update (discussed later in this chapter).

Add/Remove Windows Components

The Windows Components Wizard lets you add or remove any of the optional programs that come with Windows XP. Select a category and click Details to selectively install or remove any particular component. Note the Description below the list for a one-line explanation of the component, or refer to the corresponding section in this chapter for more information.


  • You can remove entries from the Change or Remove Programs list without actually uninstalling the corresponding applications using TweakUI (see Appendix D).

  • Applications are registered in Add or Remove Programs with keys in the Registry key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall.

See Also

Control Panel

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