How to uninstall a program not listed in Control Panel

By | December 17, 2011
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Sharon asks how she can uninstall a program that is not listed in Control Panel / Remove programs

I downloaded Digital Lifeboat as a beta member and have a free lifetime subscription. I am currently wanting to uninstall it as it seems to be slowing down my computer. According to their directions I can uninstall on Add and Remove Programs, but it is not listed there. They told me how to stop it but it will start up again at the next reboot. Do you have any idea how to uninstall if needed? Thanks!

Our answer
This is a good question, Sharon. This seems to happen a lot on all versions of Windows: You install a program and you use it for several weeks or months and then you decide to uninstall it. But somewhere during the time you were using it, strange things were going on in the nether regions of Windows. Most of the time it’s not the fault of the program you’ve installed – it’s another of those annoying Windows things that drive us all crazy from time to time. While Windows has gotten more stable and consistent since the old days of 95, 98, and ME, it still suffers from Microsoftitis – that’s a disease that could be eradicated or at least reduced if Microsoft wasn’t always in such a rush to get its newest version to market.

OK time to try to help you solve your problem. There are two thing you can try:

1. You can reinstall the program. Yes, this sounds silly and doesn’t make a lot of sense but it works. The reason why the program isn’t found in Control Panel is because its uninstall file has turned up missing or Windows can’t find it. If you reinstall the program it will put the uninstall file back and then it will be listed in the Remove Programs section of Control Panel/Programs. As soon as you reinstall the program, go to Control Panel, Programs, Remove Programs (on Vista and 7) or Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP, and uninstall the programs. You can also look in the folder in which the program is installed (usually in Program Files) and look for a file called uninstall.exe, unwise.exe, uninstaller.exe, etc. This can be tricky though because different programs use different uninstaller file names and it’s probably best not to be clicking on executables unless you know what you’re clicking/

2. You can download and install Revo Uninstaller (the free version works great). Once you install Revo, run it and it will scan your system and display a list of all programs on your computer. Be careful when you are downloading Revo Uninstaller – there’s a trial version which is free to download, but not free to use beyond the trial period. Be sure you download the freeware version which never expires. You can get the free version of Revo Uninstaller from here.

3 thoughts on “How to uninstall a program not listed in Control Panel

  1. Brian

    I’ve run across the same problem Sharon. Revo Uninstaller is a great program! But, it doesn’t always display all of the installed programs either. You may have to remove the program from the “program files” folder inside “computer” on your system. Go to start, then computer, then to C drive, then select program files. Inside is a list of all the programs on your system. In your case, choose Digital Lifeboat by clicking on it once.This will highlight that folder. Now hit the delete key. If this won’t let you delete the entire folder, open it and highlight all files and hit delete. Then delete the empty folder after. I had to do this with a PIM program that had no uninstaller. It’s the long and tedious way about it, but it works. Afterwards use a registry cleaner to rid the registry of the entries there. Hope this helps.
    Merry Christmas!

    1. infoave Post author

      Sharon – never go to the program files folder and delete any program. There are contingent files and dll files which are program dependencies. If you remove programs this way you’re going to have a mess. The least of your problems will be the leftover entries in the registry. You’re computer will have serious issues if you remove programs this way. ALWAYS use the program’s uninstaller – reinstall the program and use the program’s uninstaller or use Revo in “hunter mode” – locate the program’s EXE file and click it. Never Ever delete a program by deleting each item in the program’s folder. You leave behind more than registry entries – you leave behind other things such ad DLL files which are installed in different locations. Don’t use this method to remove a program.

  2. Brian

    My suggestion Sharon, followed directly from the developer of the program I referred to in my previous post. It worked fine for me. But, pay heed to the subsequent advice from InfoAve. They are far more expert in these matters than I will ever hope to accomplish. I was merely trying to help, with advice that was given to me and seemed to work. Any orphaned Dlls in my case were taken care of with a system cleaner, afterwards. Again, follow the advice of the folks here!


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