Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio
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One of the questions I commonly receive from customers is how to uninstall a product when there is no entry created for that product in the Add/Remove Programs control panel. I get asked this question about a lot of different MSI-based setups and OS hotfixes, particularly from people who are trying to follow the uninstall instructions for beta versions of VS 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0.
For MSI-based products, I typically recommend using the following steps to locate and remove a product that does not appear in Add/Remove Programs:
This set of steps has resolved nearly all cases I've run into in the past where someone needed to remove a product but could not find an entry in Add/Remove Programs to launch the uninstall process from. If you try these steps and run into problems or have questions, please contact me and I will try to help.
For OS hotfixes, you need to make sure the Show updates checkbox is checked in the top middle of the Add/Remove Programs control panel. If that is checked and the hotfix you want to remove still does not appear in Add/Remove Programs, the hotfix may have been installed on your system with a command line that suppresses the ability to uninstall.
<update date="1/9/2006"> Added more specific information about extracting and running smartmsizap.exe from c:\ because otherwise Windows may not know where to find the exe when running the command from a cmd prompt </update>
<update date="4/1/2009"> Fixed broken link to smartmsizap tool. </update>