How to Completely Uninstall / Remove a Software Program in Windows without using 3rd Party Software?

Generally all computer users install various software programs regularly. Sometimes they keep them and sometimes they decide to remove them.

To remove a program in Windows, we uninstall it from Control Panel but many times the default uninstallation utility provided by the program doesn't remove the program completely. It lefts some entries in Windows Registry, some files in various folders in your hard disk drives.

These leftovers might slow down your system and there is no point to keep them in your system.

There are many 3rd party software like Revo uninstaller, etc are available on Internet which claim to completely uninstall a software program in Windows but sometimes these software also fail to completely uninstall a software from your system.

We here at AskVG always try to do the things ourselves so today in this tutorial, we are going to share some easy to use steps which will help you in completely uninstall a software program in Windows.

So without wasting time lets start the tutorial. We have taken Mozilla Firefox as an example in this tutorial:

We have divided this tutorial in 4 steps:

  • Uninstall Using Control Panel
  • Delete Remaining Files and Folders of the Program
  • Remove Software Keys from Windows Registry
  • Empty Temp Folder

STEP 1: Uninstall Software Using Control Panel

First thing first! Uninstall the software using Windows Control Panel.

Windows XP and earlier:

Open Control Panel, double-click on "Add/Remove Programs", select the program name and click on Uninstall button. It'll remove it.

Windows Vista and later:

Open Control Panel, click on "Programs and Features", select the program name and click on Uninstall button.


STEP 2: Delete Remaining Files and Folders of the Program

Even though you have uninstalled the software using Control Panel, some files of this program might still remain in a few system folders.

To delete these leftovers, you'll need check following folders:


If you find any folder with the name of the software program which you uninstalled using 1st step, delete it.

NOTE: You just need to type the above mentioned text in RUN or Start Menu search box and press Enter. It'll open the folders directly.

Program Files folder:


Application Data folder:


NOTE 2: 64-bit system users will also need to check "C:\Program Files (x86)" folder. Here we assume your Windows is installed in C: drive. If you installed Windows in any other drive, replace C: with that drive letter.

STEP 3: Remove Software Keys from Windows Registry

You'll have to be very careful while following this step. Follow this step only if you are comfortable with Windows Registry and if you have used Registry Editor in past.

When you uninstall a software program, many times its entry in Windows Registry is not deleted by the uninstaller. It might increase Windows Registry size.

To completely uninstall the software, you'll also need to delete its key from Windows Registry.

1. Type regedit in RUN or Start Menu search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following keys one by one:


64-bit system users will also need to check following extra key:


Once you go to the above mentioned keys, look for a key with the name of your uninstalled software. If you find a key, delete it.

If you get an error while deleting a Registry key such as "Cannot delete key: Error while deleting key", you'll need to take ownership of the key as mentioned in following tutorial:

[Guide] How to Take Ownership (Permission) of a Registry Key in Windows?

Sometimes the key name might be based on the company name or developer name so if you suspect a key, expand it and check whether its related to the uninstalled software program. If yes, you can delete it.


PS: Make sure to take a backup before deleting anything from Windows Registry so that you can restore it later if something goes wrong. To take backup, right-click on the key which you are going to delete and select "Export". It'll save a .REG file containing the backup of that key.

PS2: Expert users can also find all occurrence of the key with the name of uninstalled software using "Ctrl+F" and delete them. You'll have to be very cautious for it. Delete the key only if you are absolutely sure that the key was created by the uninstalled software.

STEP 4: Empty Temp Folder

At last you can also empty Temp folder which contains temporary files and cleaning this folder is absolutely safe.

To empty Temp folder, type following one by one in RUN or Start Menu search box and press Enter:


It'll open Temp folders. You can empty them. If Windows shows errors while deleting a few files, leave them. These files might be used by some running software or Windows services.


That's it. After following the above mentioned steps, you'll be able to completely uninstall and remove a software program from Windows.

If you have any question or suggestion, feel free to post them in your comment...

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Posted in: Software, Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • Thanks VG!

    I thought that I had seen that method elsewhere, but your tutorial on it by far passes what the other tech said.

    Thanks Again

  • U are a Godsent for post, keep it up

  • its really useful. Thanks a lot!

  • really worked

  • Your tutorial is such an interested one, thank you for such a help you have rendered to ppl like me. Remain blessed.

  • Amazing thank you !!!

  • This absolutely, positively works. Thank you so much !! Now I can play demo games over and over !!

  • This helped a lot. Many thanks, VG!

  • Thank you very much! I run Secunia PSI on my computer which tells me if any programs are insecure. Even though I had uninstalled Mozilla Firefox, Secunia PSI still recognized it as being there since pieces of the program were still in my computer. I'm not computer savvy, but your instructions were easy enough for even me to follow. After going through all of your steps, it disappeared from Secunia PSI. Thanks again for your help!

  • Help me, please!
    I'm trying to uninstall Nero trial. I followed all of your steps but there is still a Nero folder which cannot be deleted ( C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Nero) with files such as LBFC.dll, NB.dll, NBBurn.dll, NBService and NeroAPIGlueLayerUnicode.dll.
    I'm desperate, it's very annoying!
    Thank you :)

  • VG

    ^^ Most of the times these files can be deleted after a reboot. If it doesnt work, you can try Unlocker:

  • Thanks a lot.Helped me to reinstall IDM :P

  • Great stuff thanks in lots :)

  • Tried all that (with trying to delete IE folders)-- nothing works. Can't delete folder as it is telling me the app is open, can't delete the registry items (tells me I can't delete, probably from same reason)-- but I completely uninstalled that stupid IE, or so I think...
    (PS- first I "took Control" of it as administrator with the app you noted on your other blog)
    Any ideas?

  • thank you dude for helping me

  • Totally wooooooooooooooooooooooooooorked...awesome job guys

  • I can no longer create playlists in WMP 12 WIN 7 x64 SP1. I just did a I Fresh Install, and I had opened it and made a few, so I know it WAS working. But at some point, during configuration of Windows Explorer or WMP, or another area, it stopped allowing me to even Create Playlists.

    I mean, not a single one. I can click a .mkv, .avi, mp4. , or any Music or Picture File, any Media File I associated it to when it behaved, and it will play. But no Playlists can be created. And all it says in error box is:

    Windows Media Player encountered a ploblem while creating or saving the playlist.

    [Close] [Web Help]

    And the link to Web Help, basically directs me here.

    Windows Media Player error

    You got an error message while using Windows Media Player. Unfortunately, specific info about the error isn't currently available.

    A common reason why files don't play is that you might have the wrong codec on your PC. For more information about codecs, see Codecs: frequently asked questions.

    For general help with Windows Media Player, search the Microsoft Support site. You can post questions about Windows Media Player errors in the Windows forum. Experts are on hand to help.

    I ran a Troubleshooter, and it said it was currupted and could not fix. That sometimes it can be corrupted and would need to be reinstalled. I'm paraphrasing, but, yeah.

    Any, advice would be most appreciated.

  • VG

    ^^ Try to run sfc /scannow command. It'll restore default system files if any system file is corrupted or missing. Check method 4 in following topic:

  • Thank you very much !
    I sometimes install soft wares in some different drive (Not in the same drive that contains the system software) . In case of that , how to remove that software/s ?

  • VG

    ^^ Same steps will be applicable.

  • Thank you very much, very helpful article.

  • Recently, I uninstalled trial version of office 2010 but from then i could not install any office version,
    I have followed all the steps shown above but still i could not install office .. it is showing some registry error..
    Please help me

  • VG

    ^^ Please try following:

  • can you send me details of how to get office student 2007 off this desktop and onto my new desktop with windows 8.1 so it works and updates ok.
    i only have 2 keys ,and the other is on my laptop, this desktop i want to decommission. but a friend repairs them and sends them somewhere they help the poor people of the world learn.
    i only want office cleaned out so nobody can use it except me

    yours sincerely J A Kenny

  • VG

    ^^ You can find out your Office key using following link:

    And then uninstall Office from your computer. After that you can reinstall Office using your genuine key in a new computer system.

  • This is very useful. But iam not able to delete all the files from temp and%temp%. I recently installed HP Qtp11.5 and uninstalled from the system and iam not able to install the previous versions of qtp. it is showing already u have the advanced version even though i followed the above process to delete the files. can u provide a solution for as early as possible.

  • I am trying to delete Dragon naturally/speaking 10 from my programs, I have followed your steps. It is still in my programs, I can't get it to uninstall. If you could help me I would appreciate it.. Thank you

  • Tried doing this and was only able to get rid of the Windows 2010 folder with the %programfiles% command. When I tried %appdata% it told me I needed administrative permission to delete files but not how to get it. Since I'm the only user of this computer I was pretty confulssed. Managed to delete some of the appdata but then restored them from the trash after getting really nervous about not knowing what the hell I was doing. Didn't even attempt to delete the keys.

    I've reinstalled PowerPoint but get the error message "ppt couldn't load Motion Path Tools" when trying to re-install these.

    I have no idea what to do now. Any help you can give me would be really appreciated.

    Many thanks!

  • I had forgotten the password of oracle 11g due to which i was not able to access it, but it was utilizing the computer resources like RAM which i felt is the reason for my laptop getting slow so I deleted the folder of oracle 11g in start option, than i disabled the oracle 11g in administrative tools> services, then i went to the drive in my case F drive where app folder was created i deleted even that, so is oracle 11g completely uninstalled, if not than how to remove the remaining traces of oracle 11g to free up the memory and other resources it utilizes?
    One more thing i would like to tell is that after doing the above said procedure the oracle 11g in disabled(Start up type) is still shown in Services which is I feel indicating that oracle 11g is not completely uninstalled so guide me even to remove it from the Services

  • VG

    ^^ Some registry entries are still there, you can use CCleaner to remove obsolete entries and fix Registry issues:

  • heyy VG.. thanks aLot!
    It really worked

  • I also think it makes sense checking the Common Files folder in both Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders.
    Thanks so much!

  • Thanks so much for your wonderful tips.. Even a computer noob like me is able to clear the s**t that my parents accidentally installed.. Thanks once again.! :)

  • i'm trying that, but it says i need permission from TrustedInstaller in order to get rid of internet explorer. how do i do that?

  • VG

    ^^ Which Windows are you using? Its not advisable to uninstall Internet Explorer.

    Regarding taking ownership from TrustedInstaller, check following:

  • i have only folder on my pc desktop how to find its installed software and name in hard disk

  • Hi! I have a quick question, I did steps 1, 2, and 4 and the all went really smoothly, thank you a ton for that. But I skipped Step 3 cause you say 'only do this if you've used windows registry before' and i have not. My question is does it still get rid of the program even if you dont do step 3? Thanks!

  • VG

    ^^ If you are worried about step 3, you can use following freeware to remove unused software keys from registry:

  • thank you so much for very clear instructions....i was able to remove ....your file downloader that i have no clue how it was on my pc..but started to bring up a box on start up...saying... to up date important.....? and i removed conduit and bing and bother too.....BUT the other day....

    i had used another persons instructions on utube and not realizing that ( x86) had many software programs in it ..................i clicked on delete and it started to delete many files at a fast rate......not sure how i managed that ?? ... don't know how many or what it deleted but my pc is working ok....but it still had the youfile downloader at start up...

    so i am without the pop up yourfiledownloader but wonder because i empted alot by mistake...should i set my pc 8.1to start new ???i think it says u can do that one time...

    thank you for such great info . wish i found this site before i made the error..

  • thank you so much I finally get rid of all the programs and now my laptop is working fast again than you so much again!!!

  • i tried all the steps,but with step 3 it came up with 'cannot be deleted error while deleting key, please what can i do next?

  • VG

    ^^ Take ownership of the key:

  • Thanks!

  • my bluestacks soft somthng pack stucked in program files and not deletng it i tried plz help me

  • VG

    ^^ Try Unlocker:

  • Thank you

  • Thank you. Really Helpful.

  • The question is that I install MS office and by mistake my MS outlook was damaged.

    I tried to reinstall or used IObit soft or Regedit clean all remaining files and so on. However after a new installation it came with the same mistake.

    I do not want to recover windows now or reinstall it completely.

    How to get rid of this microsoft problem problem, which driving us crazy?

    Thank you in advance.


  • VG

    ^^ Do you want to completely uninstall Microsoft Office or want to repair Office to be able to use Outlook? Please provide more details.

  • Hi,

    I need help in uninstalling the program "Your File Downloader" from my PC.

    I've deleted from the control panel, but it keeps popping up and its annoying.



  • VG

    ^^ Post your HijackThis log file in following topic:

  • I already uninstalled AVG anti-virus but when im installing mcafee, AVG shows up in the PUP

    (Potentially Unwanted Program) but doesnt show up on the uninstall programs list in the control

    panel? wut to do mang?

  • VG

    ^^ Try to clean registry and temp files using following:

  • going through all your steps

    I still can not find this file. I have uninstalled it originally of course. like you said.
    I have gone into it's properties and it says under
    Object name C:\Windows\System32\MarineAquariumLite.exe
    Am I missing it somewhere.
    I am desperate to get rid of it, as it is a screen saver that keeps coming on and it's an aquarium and I feel running my computer all the time.
    Hope you can help

  • VG

    ^^ Please provide more details. Where do you find the object name and other things?

  • thank you sir for you kind help, I could solve the problem

  • In control panel,there are two unnecessary folders o auto plot style manager and auoto desk plot manager.How i delete them.
    Secondly,Autocad 2012 and microsoft.Net frame work 4 client profile cannot delete forever.Please reply on my email.

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:


  • my trial version is over for folder protect software. it was in stealth mode. not able to uninstall completely. and its not available in programs and feature option. pls help

  • I can't completely remove Google Chrome from my PC. I have followed your instructions, but when I re-installs it finds the previous bookmarks. I want to clean install Google Chrome and have it ask me If I want to import bookmarks from ie and Firefox. How do I do this?

  • VG

    ^^ Try CCleaner:

  • Thank you so much...
    your step-by-step process help me to fixed myself.

  • can you please help me out,.
    i installed far cry 2 it's a game but it is not working properly so I uninstalling
    but it is not completely uninstalling. what should i do ?

  • Thank you so much.. You're tutorial on this is by far the best.. Keep it up. :D

  • i tried to install bluestacks but cancelled it in the middle which leaves a folder named bluestacks in my program files x86 which i tried deleting but it didn't.... asked for some permissions.... please help me as when i tried to reinstall bluestacks it says there is an error

  • VG

    ^^ First restart your computer and try to delete the folder again. If you still get permission error, take ownership of the folder:

  • WOW, thank you sooo much!

    Feels like my old laptop was brought back to life after getting rid of all the stuff there was that I didn't even know there was.

    Kudos and a great year 2015 ♥

  • thank you for such detailed tutorial!

    However, I could not gain permission still after following those steps on the other link you've included...
    What could I do to delete it? thanks!

  • Thank you very much it was very useful also I would recommend disconnecting from the Internet when un-installing any suspicious programs.

  • thank you

  • I can't remove ms office 2007 from my pc in windows xp. When I want to delete it it shows some errors. What should I do?

  • Thanks for this guide! :)

  • I'm trying to remove "Glass Bottle" (adware? malware?)
    I've run multiple malware scans, gone through tutorial after tutorial, including this one, and I can find no trace of any files even remotely hinting that they might be the culprit, but it STILL shows up on the left side of my screen, and it opens new tabs with advertisements every few clicks, and i'ts absolutely infuriating! Please help!!

  • VG

    ^^ First post your HijackThis log file in following topic:

  • Fantastic! Much more thorough and complete way of removing annoying leftovers than anything I have seen out there. THANK YOU!

  • sir i would like to ask is that how can i re install when its not uninstall using cntrl panel

  • please tell HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node also those fies are delete safe or not

  • VG

    ^^ Check Point 2 in STEP 3.

  • I am unable to turn on Windows defender in Win 8.1

  • Actually whats is my problem is i uninstalled AV(connected with server) in client system through revo uninstaller,that AV was removed from control panel programs but still that AV is running in desktop and c:\programs files.,even server also shown online to scan also.
    so kindly guide the how to uninstalled fully..

    Its windows xp home edition sp3-32bit
    Trend Micro AV

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:

  • It works... BUT..............
    before few days, I installed oracle sql database... but now it's folder isn't being deleted...
    so kindly help me through this...

  • I have an aquarium screensaver in my screensaver list, but I have uninstalled it, removed the download link, removed it from my program files. It is NOWHERE in any folder on this computer BUT it is still in my screensaver list! Noting gets rid of it because it doesn't exist! HOW can I get rid of that stupid thing????

  • I've tried Revo and Wise uninstaller. Neither of them even find the file or program.

  • OH and I've followed all the instructions I can find to totally remove it. It is GONE. I've looked through every damn folder on this laptop. BUT it won't go away.

  • VG

    ^^ Search for *.SCR files in C: drive where Windows is installed and make sure Aquarium screensaver is not present in the search results. If you find it, delete it. Also search for Aquarium word in Registry Editor. May be you find some instances of it there.

  • Working Nice!! Thanks

  • This was really useful! Specially- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node I never expected the key to be in this location. Phew.

  • Totally great. Thanks a lot.!!

  • Thank you for the simple instructions. I'm a sr. citizen; not a tech genius but I can follow instructions.

  • Hey Genius, Thanks for your help. May God love you!

  • YOU ARE GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • i have followed all the instructions and I've successfully uninstalled my ESET nod32 Antivirus but after that it's running , it's not showing me in the box of add/remove programs but it's running can anyone tell me what should i do? :-(

  • This is very helpfull for us thanks.

  • I want to remove software name MTV20151125, and i couldn't remove it by any of the above methods, can you please help.

  • VG

    ^^ Post your HijackThis log file in following topic first:

  • thank you, this has helped me alot.

  • VG didn't work. It's still there and my AVG picks it up as a threat and says it removes it, but it is still showing in my screensavers. I give up

  • VG

    ^^ Please post your Hijackthis log file in following article:

  • Thanks you very much. well explained. It would be nice if you provide pdf files. Cheers.

  • very detailed and so helpful... thank you

  • Please help me a program Can't uninstall its shows "Can’t open uninstall log file C:\Program File\Nudi 4.0\!"

  • VG

    ^^ You can follow the instructions given above for removing its files/folders and Registry entries. You can also try to reinstall it and then uninstall it.

  • a program can't unistalla its shows "can not delete c:\program files\nudi 4.0\nudi exe. this file may be in use by another application. retry? please help me i can use Revouninstaller pro 3.15 soft ware but no use.

  • VG

    ^^ You can try Unlocker to remove the file:

  • a program can't install its shows "Unpacking c\program files\nudi 4.0\uninstall.exe" so please help me sir

  • The steps are too hard for me, any recommended software can do it for me?

  • hello,
    according to the steps mentioned, i have deleted all the files of the application. but it gives an error while re installing saying the program is already installed.
    i had to uninstall the program because i couldn't run the application and tried reinstalling.

  • Thanks for this insightful tutorial, it really did the job perfectly.

  • I have installed a 15 day trail of voice synthesizer sangeeta it has say the key expired how can i reuse that 15 day trail

  • Dear sir I'm taring to remove the program file (x86) from system local disk (c)

  • In Programs x86 it will not let me delete the folder, it says it is in use??

  • VG

    ^^ Take ownership of the folder first:

  • I am in love with you right now .... i've been trying to get rid of some software for so long .... and now its gone .... YESSSSSSSSSS


  • i downloaded legue of angels 2, then uninstalled it but everytime i restart my pc it auto starts. HELP

  • precise, clear and useful (excellent). Keep it up.

  • Thank You So Much...Its Very Helpful.. :)

  • why waste your time and do it manually? use ccleaner or revo uninstaller for that...

  • This looks helpful (and thanks for posting) but I cannot find ANY keys bearing the name of the program I'm trying to remove. It's called Microsoft Digital Image Starter Edition. When it runs, the program itself is called pi.exe - but there are no keys called this, either.

    Any help would be be appreciated - thank you!

  • thank you for your wonderful steps.
    you saved my time.


  • Thanks!

  • My pc is running windows 10 64bit and office 2013 64 bit as well, I installed xlstat addin for excel, a trail period, after end of trail period, its registration can not be removed even using most of the clean registry software, and I had followed the procedure proposed but not succeeded to get rid of this trail registration, and on the site they have certain unlock bin, how to find a solution, thanks for your forum and time, and awating for your reply.

  • VG

    ^^ Did you try to uninstall it using Control Panel -> Programs and Features?

  • It was of great help. Thanks..

  • Wow... Great !! Thanks !
    good Job .. keep it up!

  • Thank you so much was very helpful

  • thanks you very much.

  • Some additional folders and registry keys John White's solution found to look at that may or may not be on your system. would be replaced by your windows login name for these first two below.

    - Delete file: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Temp\AdobeARM.log
    - Delete file: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Temp\etilqs_GFTaFDevJdWDk19

    - Delete folder: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Source Engine
    - Delete folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\MSECache\AceRedist\1033
    - Delete folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\MSECache\AceRedist\1033
    - Delete folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\MSECache\AceRedist
    - Delete folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\MSECache
    - Delete registry value: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0
    - Delete registry value: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\_0
    - Delete registry value: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{90140000-00D1-0409-0000-0000000FF1CE}
    - Delete registry value: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{90140000-1146-0000-0000-0000000FF1CE}

  • wow! amazing thing. thank you

  • I am trying to remove all references to "optispeed" on my computer. I have removed it from Programs and Features (control panel), also removed all references in the registry, then I did a search and found 8 references. I transferred these to the shredder in Privacy Guardian. I then did another search and turned up nothing. But when I look in Notification Area Icons, there are still two references. They probably won't cause any trouble (I hope) but I don't like anything on my computer which I didn't intentionally put there. I think it must have come hidden in another application which I have now deleted. That application has now gone completely, but these two references to Optispeed persist, and I can't remove them. Please help.

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

  • With reference to my previous, I used the registry editor and did what you suggested. After making the changes to the registry, I closed regedit, then re-opened it. The two Iconstreams had gone. I then re-booted as required, and checked the registry again. the two Iconstreams had re-appeared, unchanged, and the two references to "optispeed" still persist. Any more suggestions would be much appreciated.

  • I can't explain it! After rebooting twice, I now find that the Optispeed references have completely disappeared. Don't know what you or I did, but thanks for that.

  • OK. That's fine - Uninstall, folder clean up (some times after reboot only), then Registry. Now the question is:

    Can I use the "Find" command instead of manual search trough the registry and delete everything found there related to the search expression, e.g. "OneDrive".

    Can I also delete the entire alphanumerically named folder in HCR instead of the specific value inside only?
    The "Find" command finds plenty values inside Registry folders (Keys).
    Does that mean that I can delete the entire folder (Key)?
    Will that cause any problems in the Registry functions?
    Well, I am aware of the risks, and always back-up before such interventions!

    Thank you in advance

  • VG

    ^^ Deleting important registry keys might cause system problems. So be careful while deleting keys. You can share the key paths here for assistance before deleting them.

  • thanks alot dude

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