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  1. #1
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    What are all these Visual C++ Redistributable entries in my programs list?

    Every time I look at my installed programs list I see more and more 2005 and 2008 Visual C++ Redistributable entries. I have no idea where they came from or why the list keep expanding. I just downloaded the SP1 update for 2005 and 2008. I expected that to clean things up, but instead it just added more entries for both 32 and 64 bit versions.

    Can someone explain what C++ Redistributable is for? I am running Thunderbird and Firefox. If I do need it, can I remove any of the older versions? If I do remove something I need, is Windows 7 smart enough to put it back via an Update?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
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    Those are basically installers for libraries that other apps need and were installed because some of the apps you have were built with Visual C++.

    If you remove them, some of your apps may stop working and will need to be reinstalled or repaired. I wouldn't advise removing them, unless you are willing to go through the reinstall / repair route. Windows 7 will only install updates to the original packages, not the packages themselves.
    Last edited by ruirib; 2011-06-19 at 10:53.

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    Medico (2011-06-19)

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Very good explanation Rui, thanks for the info.

    I seem to have a large number of them as well:

    Visual C.jpg
    Last edited by Medico; 2011-06-19 at 15:05.
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    Hi Ted,

    You're welcome. Your list actually looks as big as mine .

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    It's difficult to imagine there isn't a better way of doing this that would not add so many variations and updates.
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  7. #6
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    I think these are security updates and the problem is that these versions are not retro compatible, that is, having the 2010 libraries is not enough for applications built with previous Visual C++ versions.

  8. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Oh no, brain cramp. I guess I'm too old and too tired today to think about this any more. These various updates don't affect my system, so they stay. I don't want to break something else.
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    Oh no, brain cramp. I guess I'm too old and too tired today to think about this any more. These various updates don't affect my system, so they stay. I don't want to break something else.
    Yep, have to agree with that. I just accept the updates and do not worry about them.

  10. #9
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    If you can find the program that installed them or it (not always easy) then you can see if there is an alternative to it or decide if you need it. I was able to find the culprit that installed the 2005 Visual C++ libraries on my PC. Once I found a suitable alternative to it, I uninstalled the program. Naturally this still left the C++ libraries on my PC. I then uninstalled these with no ill effects. The 2008 C++ ones are still there though and I do no know what put them there. The possibility also exists that more than 1 program is using them so if something gets broke, then a reinstall would fix it. Or you can do as others have stated and just leave them.

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    I have taken the risk of uninstalling all of the versions of both the 2005 and 2008 installations, then installed the latest versions (8.1.61001 and 9.0.3729.6161) as provided by Windows Update. So far no problems, but I have all the previous install files available in case of need.

    In fact, after totally removing them from my old 'play' computer, and before installing the latest version, I tried to run every program that might have required them, but found that everything still worked without them. So I'm a bit confused...

    Chris

  12. #11
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    I've been tempted to do the same thing as Chris did. However, I've been able to definitely correlate some of the C++ entries with software I installed when I first set up my PC. I'm pretty sure OpenOffice and the Mozilla programs add C++ entries. I also think some of the C++ entries are left over from the junkware that was on my PC from the factory. I probably should have removed all the C++ entries dated prior to purchase along with the junkware and then installed the programs I needed.

    It's possible that newer C++ installs and updates may provide the needed functionality for the programs I installed long ago. That's where I'm really confused. It seems that older C++ installs are there forever inspite of newer updates.

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    Once the C++ (or any other) runtimes are installed they are independent of the original program that needed them. Other programs could also require them and since they are already installed don't install them again. Because they are independent installations, uninstalling the original program does not remove these runtime libraries as that could break other programs.

    Uninstalling all the various 2005 & 2008 updates and installing the latest may work for him and not for someone else. Somtimes, programs require a specific version of the runtimes. If someone else wishes to try that I'd recommend doing what Chris did and have the installation files for the various versions in case something fails.

    Joe

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    Thanks for the additional explanation, Joe. The logic for installing runtimes, and keeping them, makes perfect sense. However, taken to the extreme and given enough time, you could end up with a LOT of these runtimes that are out of date with no programs using them any more. Although they generally appear to be small applications unto themselves, I wonder if these accumulated runtimes could explain why older PCs show more and more installed files. I don't remember seeing any C++ entries on my old XP computer, but I suspect they were there. Perhaps Microsoft chose to show them explicitly in Win7's Programs list. Either way, I think we can conclude that it's wise to leave all the C++ entries in place and hope they don't consume too much disk space over time.

  15. #14
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    I guess I feel that these libraries are security risks. Sooner or later, MS will stop issuing updates for these and then they will become targets for exploit. I therefore would recommend finding the programs that installed them and looking for suitable alternatives. If a program using one fails, it will usually complain that it needs a certain file. Having backup libraries is a good idea if you must have the program that needs it. The 2005 package is 6 years old, think about it.

  16. #15
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    I have zero entries for 'Microsoft Visual C++' in my installed updates list. ????

    I'm currently running 69 third-party programs also. Is it possible I'm not running any software written with MS Visual C++?

    Anyone? Thx, Rob

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