How to Remove Unwanted Program Shortcuts from Windows Vista Welcome Center?

If you are using Windows Vista in a branded computer system, you might have probably noticed that the "Vista Welcome Center" shows some extra program shortcuts which came bundled with the machine like some promotional software and trialware.

Many people like me uninstall those crapware because they are more likely annoying than useful. But even you uninstall those software, Welcome Center keeps showing their shortcuts in the list but those shortcuts don't work any more obviously.

You can't remove them because there is no option available to remove them from Welcome Center but there is a trick available to remove those unwanted items from Welcome Center.

For this task, we'll need to edit a system file "oobe.xml" which can be found in "%windir%\System32\oobe\Info" folder. This file will only present in systems which are branded and contain a customized Welcome Center. You'll not find this file in a normal Vista PC.

Make sure to take a backup of this file before following this tutorial, so that you can restore it if you face any problem.

So following are simple steps to remove unwanted program shortcuts from Vista welcome center:

1. Go to "%windir%\System32\oobe\Info" folder and look for a file "oobe.xml". It might be present under "%windir%\System32\oobe\Info\Default\1033\" folder in some systems. Where 1033 is language code for English version. If you are using some other language Windows version, then replace 1033 with your language code.

2. Now open the file in Notepad (you might need to login as Administrator to be able to edit and save the file otherwise open Notepad as Administrator and then open the file).

3. When you'll open the file, you'll see various entries enclosed between <task> and </task> tags. Look for the desired item which you want to remove and delete all lines related to it between <task> and </task> tags. Make sure to delete the tags as well containing the item.

4. That's it. After editing the file, save it and re-open Welcome center. Now it'll not show the removed item.

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows Vista

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