Remove Program from the Add or Remove Programs List

   Posted August 31, 2004 by David Kirk in Windows

Occasionally, you do not want people to be able to uninstall software easily from a system. This reg hack will prevent it from showing up in the Add or Remove Programs List.


If you are not a Jedi registry person, leave this section of Windows alone. Backup, and take out life insurance.

Being able to manipulate the “Add or Remove Programs” list is helpful. You can hide programs that are installed to prevent them from being easily uninstalled, for example.

Here is the area of the registry in which we will be working:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Under this key, you will find a listing of programs that are in your “Add or Remove Programs” list. Some will be easily named, others will not. Clicking on most of the sections under this key should display enough information about your key for you to be able to tell what program it is.

Many people will just delete the entry for the program to keep it from showing up in the list. However, deleting it is a bad idea because this makes uninstalling the program much more difficult in case you ever change your mind.

The best method is to fool Windows into actually thinking it is a component. If Windows thinks it is a component, it will hide it. This is easily reversed as well.

Say I wanted to hide my Firefox installation, for example. I would be working on the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Mozilla Firefox (0.9.3)

To hide this, I just need to add a DWORD value to fool Windows into thinking it is a component. To accomplish this, fully expand the key of the program in question (as I have done with the Firefox key above). Then complete the following steps:

    1. Right click on some blank space in the right column.
    2. Select New from the context menu,
    3. Select DWORD value.
    4. Name it SystemComponent.
    5. Right-click and select Modify.
    6. Change the value data to 1, and click OK.

Your program will now be hidden in the Add or Remove Programs list. If you ever want this program to reappear, just delete the SystemComponent DWORD.

 

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.
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