How can I get rid of Windows programs I will never use? Outlook Express,
Netmeeting, Frontpage, Movie Maker, Gaming Zone and others. I hate the way
Microsoft does not allow them to be uninstalled.
Actually Microsoft does allow many of those to be uninstalled. How
to do so is just really confusing at times. You’d think that they would show up
on the Add/Remove programs list. Unfortunately you’d often be wrong.
It turns out there’s a subtle distinction between what is and is not a
“Windows Component”, and that makes all the difference.
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In most cases when software is installed it also shows up in the Add/Remove
Programs list in control panel:
In Windows Vista this same list is available as “Programs and Features” in
In both cases not everything we might want to control is listed.
In Windows XP click on Add/Remove Windows Components, on
the left hand side of the Add/Remove Programs list, and you’ll be presented
with even more things you can control:
Scroll down in that list and you’ll see things like Outlook Express which
you can uncheck to remove.
However, as the late night TV infomercials so often say: “but wait, there’s
Pay close attention to the Details button. If it’s enabled,
it means that there are more items that can be individually controlled. For
example, with “Accessories and Utilities” selected if you press it, you’ll get
With Accessories selected, you’ll see you can click Details
again to get this list of accessories:
Unfortunately there’s no easy way to know what’s where, or how many levels
of “Details” button clicks you need to go to discover whether the components
you’re interested in are going to be there. Outlook Express is there, I believe Netmeeting should be there, as well as many other items you might
not consider to be “Windows Components”.
Windows Vista changed both the terminology and the look. In Vista click on
Turn Windows features on or off and you’ll get:
They’ve replaced the “Details” button with a more familiar tree
representation. That should make finding what you’re looking for a little
easier. The basic concept remains the same: windows components, aka features,
can be turned on or off which I believe will cause Windows to install or
uninstall the associated software.