How to Delete Programs Without Uninstall

by Launie Sorrels
Hemera Technologies/ Images

Most applications use the Windows uninstall protocol to remove programs; however, third-party applications will do as they wish. When the programs do not use the Windows uninstall feature, then they may not be able to be uninstalled through the Add/Remove Programs feature in Windows. In this case, most companies will have an uninstall program loaded to the computer and stored in their program’s installation file. If neither of these options is available, then you will have to remove the program manually.

Step 1

Right-click on the application’s shortcut to open a drop-down menu. Typically, this is located on the desktop. If it is not, click the “Start” button and check under All Programs if you are running Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Check under Programs if you are a Windows XP user.

Step 2

Select the “Properties” option from the drop-down menu. Click the “Shortcut” tab. The \"Start in:\" text box will display the folder in which the application’s files are stored. Highlight the text–excluding the quotes–right-click the highlighted text and select “Copy” from the drop-down menu.

Step 3

Open Windows Explorer. To accomplish this, click on the “Start” button. Select the “All Programs” or “Programs” arrow. Click the “Accessories” folder. Select “Windows Explorer.”

Step 4

Click the top-left text box, not the Search box. The current path will highlight. Right-click the highlighted text and select “Paste” from the drop-down menu.

Step 5

Right-click the application folder, which will appear in the left-hand pane, and select the “Delete” option from the drop-down menu. Confirm the deletion if prompted to do so. This deletes the actual files from the application’s folder and the folder itself. Now that the main data are deleted, you need to verify if the program is in your Windows startup.

Step 6

Click on the “Start” button and type “msconfig” in the Start Search box. If you are running Windows XP, type “msconfig” in the “Run” text box. Press the “Enter” key. The System Configuration window will open.

Step 7

Click the “Startup” tab. Locate any entries that contain your application’s name. Uncheck the box next to the application name.

Step 8

Click the “OK” button. This stops the application from starting during the Windows boot up. The last step is to remove any entries in the registry.

Step 9

Click on the “Start” button and type “regedit.” The Registry Editor will open.

Step 10

Follow the following path in the registry: “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\Applications,” and look for any folders that contain the name of the application.

Right-click the folder and select the “Delete” option from the drop-down menu. Close the Registry Editor and reboot your computer.


  • The registry can be a dangerous place. Follow the steps carefully. Deleting the wrong object from the registry can prevent programs from working correctly and can cause Windows not to boot.


  • You may need administrative access to perform some of the steps. It is best to sign on to the computer with administrative rights before you start.
  • Certain Windows-connected programs cannot be uninstalled.
  • Third-party software can also be used to remove the programs. See the Resource section for one of these free programs.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images

About the Author

Launie Sorrels is a veteran who has worked as a chef and has more than two decades of martial arts training. His writing has developed from his experience as a quality assurance manager for Microsoft and IBM. Sorrels has a degree in computer science and is currently working on his journalism degree.

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