Running Windows 7 Ultimate, I was trying to uninstall my Microsoft Office Professional 2010 when the PC shut down due to low power. When I later charged it and powered it on I realised the following:
- The add/remove software window was just showing a few of my softwares that are installed on the PC.
- Most of the software on the pc were no longer responding, showing a message like this, “This action is only valid for products that are currently installed”.
I have tried running safe mode with networking, tried running system repairs but the problem still persists. Please help!
I’m not sure I can. A crash during an uninstall like this is pretty serious.
I do want to give you a couple of straws to grasp at, but perhaps more importantly, I want to discuss why this might have happened, and what you need to do to prevent it from ever happening again.
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Things to try
The symptoms you describe are those of a very confused Windows.
I’m going to assume you have no backup to revert to. I’ll talk more about this in a moment, but if you had taken a backup prior to the problem, you probably wouldn’t need to ask me this question.
I’m not sure exactly what “repairs” you attempted, but in your shoes, here are the things I’d do next.
Yes, that’s a very short list. To be clear, I don’t expect it to work.
But it’s worth a try. You have nothing to lose.
A crash during an uninstall: what happened
When your system suddenly shuts down in the middle of some kind of work, that work is left undone. That means it’s left in a partially completed state.
In many cases, that can be relatively benign. Perhaps a document doesn’t get saved, an email is lost, or a file isn’t copied to its destination. Each of those might involve loss of some sort, but it’s limited to the item at hand.
Unfortunately, there are some critical files in Windows itself that, if left in a partially complete state, can cause all sorts of problems – including problems similar to what you’ve experienced.
My suspicion is that the crash during the uninstall left the registry in an inconsistent or incomplete state. Adding and removing software is actually mostly about updating the contents of the registry to reflect the addition or removal of the software. Office, as we know, is huge, so there was probably a lot of work going on within the registry at the time of the crash.
The registry is critical to Windows operation, and can cause all sorts of problems if damaged. I’m not a huge fan of System Restore, since it’s not much more than a glorified registry backup that doesn’t always work. But since I suspect the registry is at the root of your problem, System Restore is on that very short list of things to try.
If, as I suspect, it and other alternatives failed, I know of no practical way to proceed, other than starting over.
Reinstalling your system
This is my standard recipe for starting over.
- Take a complete image backup of your system as it is right now. That way, you know you won’t lose any important files.
- Reinstall Windows from scratch.
- Reinstall your applications from scratch.
- Restore your data, either from that backup we started with, or from more convenient sources, if you have them.
That’s it – the “nuclear option”, as I sometimes refer to it. When Windows is so broken you can’t fix it, starting over is the only option.
Then learn from the lesson.
Preparing for any disaster
I mentioned earlier that had you taken a backup, you wouldn’t need to ask me this question at all. If you’d had a system image backup, the solution would have been simple.
- Restore your machine from the most recent backup, before this problem occurred.
You’d be done.
I talk about backing up so often and write so many articles on the topic because it can solve so many problems. I strongly suggest you begin backing up immediately, by putting a regular, automated, complete backup regimen into place. Doing that NOW is more important than anything else – even finishing that uninstall of Office 2010.
Avoiding this disaster again
As you’ve seen, unexpectedly removing the power to a computer while it’s running can have disastrous effects, depending on what the computer is doing at the time.
Mobile devices are often required to be connected to power before beginning system updates, for just this reason.
The same is clearly true for laptops and other portable PCs. Either make absolutely certain the battery has enough charge to handle what you’re about to do, or connect it to wall power before beginning. This applies to many different kinds of operations, but it’s particularly important for system updates, including installing and uninstalling software.
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