When Windows Will Not Let You Uninstall or Reinstall a Program

   Posted April 30, 2004 by David Kirk in Windows

Office as well as many other programs that use the Windows Installer Service will often prevent reinstallation and uninstallation if there is a version conflict. The following tutorial explains how to correct this problem.

Programs that use Windows Installer Service are particular about version conflicts.

Here is a common example. You install Office. It works well, but something gets corrupted. You have lost your disc, so you rebuild off the network or try to update online. Maybe you try to upgrade to the latest version. You get to a point that you can neither reinstall nor uninstall. Finally, you receive an error like one of the following:

This patch package could not be opened. Verify that the patch package exists and that you can access it or contact the application vendor to
verify that this is a valid Windows Installer Patch package.

This action is only valid for products that are currently installed.

Setup is unable to remove earlier version.

The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable.

Error 1612. The installation source for this product is not available. Verify that the source exists and that you can access it.

This is a common and difficult problem which is caused by the Windows Installer Service. The best solution is to use Windows Install Clean Up to blitz the previous installation. After you “clean up” the previous install, you will be able to reinstall the program that is giving you the problem.

The Windows Install Clean Up program is powerful and can be dangerous. Read the support article noted below before running it on your system.

Read the support article and download the utility here.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Willie Buyoff

    On The Money!! Excellent

  • http://twitter.com/hpmcmill Hunter

    This is perfect. It did just want I wanted it to. Thank you very much!! I will visit this site more often now. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    thank you !!!!!!!!!!!! you safe my life it work perfectly thank you . gracias for la ayuda men heres un genio

  • Name

    Not in my case… I uses Windows Install Clean Up to try to uninstall Office 2003 in WIndows Vista. But it didn’t detect any apps at all.

  • Omega_2

    This doesn’t work with Win7, would prefer a more up to date guide, please.
    My issue is focused around IVT/bluesoleil not even existing in the “C:Program Files (x86)” after it’s ‘installed’.
    So far, the only way to ‘fix’ this is to go into the registry and delete anything that is found via search containing IVT, or bluesoleil, which takes a long time to get done.

  • Sarah

    THANK YOU. I am a computer dinosaur. The OverDrive Media Console used to download audio books from the Boston Public library “suddenly” refused to download books. The Microsoft support was gobblety goop to me. Your info made some sense and I did what you said. Easy peasy. I am very grateful. Thank you.

  • PBnJ

    I am directed to another article which informs me that…

    “The Windows Installer Cleanup utility (MSICUU2.exe) that was previously referred to in this article resolved some installation problems but sometimes caused issues with other programs or components that are installed on the computer. Because of this, the tool has been removed from the Microsoft Download Center. ”


  • Mitchmcgarry

    you have to pay for this do you have any free were

  • paaa kwasi

    I used one from softpedia download version 3.0.0 which solved my problem.