Delete Entries in Windows' Add or Remove Programs tool

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 16, 2007
Updated • Oct 15, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

Most software programs that you install on your system are added to the Add or Remove Programs control panel applet. This is done to provide you with options to uninstall the program again from a central location.

While you will find an uninstall option in the program folder and often in the start menu as well, it is not always the case.

Sometimes, you may not want a program to be listed under the Add or Remove Programs - or Uninstall a Program - control panel applet, for instance when you are sharing the same user account with another person or if you want to avoid removing it by mistake from the system.

You can use the following trick to hide a program from the list of installed programs without uninstalling or removing the program itself.

This could prevent that family members, friends or anyone else with access to the computer start to uninstall a software that you do not want uninstalled. It is still possible to uninstall it though but not by using the menu. Third party programs like Revo Uninstaller can be used for that for instance, and a manual deletion is also still possible.

All applications listed in this dialog are stored in the Windows Registry. Use Windows-R to open the run box, type regedit and tap on the enter key. Navigate to the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall and take a look around.

It does list a lot of applications including all Windows Updates. Selecting an entry reveals more information about it such as the location on the hard drive, the display name in the Add or Remove Programs window and version of the software.

The important String in the left menu is DisplayName. If you rename (by marking it and pressing F2) that entry to QuietDisplayName it will have the consequence that this entry will no longer be shown in the Add or Remove Programs window. Changes take effect immediately.

To restore the program, simply change the display name again to another value, for instance the program's name or custom test. As long as its value is not QuietDisplayName, it will show up again in the listing of installed programs on the system.

Delete Entries in Windows' Add or Remove Programs tool
Article Name
Delete Entries in Windows' Add or Remove Programs tool
Find out how to remove entries from Windows' standard add or remove program Control Panel applet.

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  1. hypert said on November 16, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    If you’re reading this article, then you must be interested in this subject. If you are interesting in using Add/Remove Programs or how to remove stuck entries, you MUST install a program called Safarp (no affiliation, just a happy user).

    It runs MUCH faster than Add/Remove Programs and it includes an option to remove listings without removing the program. Or, maybe you removed the program, but it’s still showing up in the list – both the original registry and Safarp can take care of this.

    Get Safarp – you will love it – period.

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