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  1. #1
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    Uninstalling a program when InstallShield fails to work

    Amongst our computers is an old Windows ME machine that we keep operating largely to run some legacy database software. One of the program files (not related to the database) has become corrupted and will not properly launch. I would like to remove the software and then re-install it. However, when I try to do this, the program's version of InstallShield invoked by the Windows Uninstall app runs, announces that it has completed the job ("Maintainence Complete"), but in fact has done nothing. The program files are still there as well as the Registry entries.

    Because the O/S is Windows ME, I cannot use Revo Uninstaller (unsupported for ME), and although there are other uninstall programs listed on CNET, they tend to come with at least a few ominous reviews, suggesting they may have turned some computers into paperweights.

    I tried contacting the software vendor's email tech support, but despite multiple exchanges, received no useful information at all. It was obvious that the tech involved had no idea what to do. ("Maybe it's a hardware problems.")

    I am reluctant to remove the program's components and then edit the Registry by hand, though I will do that if I have to. But I have an alternative strategy that I would like post here for comment and advice. I would plan to remove all of the files in the corrupted program's directory and then, without rebooting, run a registry cleaner, like CCleaner, under the assumption that it would catch and remove registry entries to the now-missing program's files.

    Is this a good plan or is there a better way of approaching this?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    CCleaner has an uninstaller. I've successfully uninstalled stuff with CCleaner that refused to uninstall the regular way. Hopefully CCleaner is compatible with Windows ME.

    If you do a good backup of your system first, you can then safely edit the registry by hand, because it will be easy to undo any damage you may do. In fact, I'd back it up anyway, in any case. You probably know that, but it's good to get a reminder sometimes.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I tell you what else I would suggest: Get a current machine and see if you can install a fresh copy of Windows ME on it, as well as all of the software you need. In this way, you are keeping your install as current as possible, so that if something goes wrong, you can more easily rebuild it from scratch. Because the longer you nurse the old machine along, the more distant you will be from the last time it was all installed, and the more you're likely to forget how to do that. Also, the hardware is probably really old, which means you are getting closer and closer to the time that the old machine will crash and be unrepairable.

    Another option would be to set up a virtual machine in one of your modern computers, and install ME as the OS for the virtual machine. If you can get everything working in the virtual machine, you will have bought a lot of time to keep the system up and running.

    Windows 8 has virtual machines available out of the box. For older OSs, there are lots of virtual machine programs out there.

    Just remember that you will need to keep your anti-virus and other updates current in the VM, as well as in the host OS.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Thank you for the suggestion, mrjimphelps. However, in this instance CCleaner merely invokes the InstallShield program with the same results (nothing, as far as I can see) as invoking it from either the Control Panel's Add-Remove Programs app or from the program's own directory.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Editing the registry will be an important aspect in removing ANY corrupt software, be it with a tool that is automated or by you manually.
    It's probably safer to do it manually, with some caveats.
    It will also be very important to stop/disable any process or service associated with the program beforehand.
    You'll need to locate ALL it's root directories, not just the obvious ones. So take the time to do a little research.

    It's also very important to "know" your application or program and how it behaves within your operating system. For example, whether
    it has dll files that are shared or not. What processes and services it runs, if any, and if those services have other, unseen, dependencies.
    In an antiquated operating system like Windows ME you'll likely to be confronted by the old DLL HELL far more than your newer Windows 7 & 8 like systems.
    So you will also have to ensure that an operating system dll file hasn't been replaced with another version which may or may not be corrupted.


    The best thing to have done would be to have used drive/disk imaging in an intelligent way, especially with older operating systems
    where program corruptions can potentially bring the entire OS down.

    If you have never used imaging before now, which is likely, then you had better start. Restoring an image before you "dig in" will give you
    multiple chances if your original attempts fail. So image ME now and potentially save yourself a clean install.



    Just my 2 cents
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2013-02-25 at 13:27.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    To reiterate something I said earlier, I very strongly suggest that you attempt to get all of this stuff installed and working on a new machine, whether ME is the host OS on the machine, or the OS of the virtual machine. You are running on lots of borrowed time here, both from a hardware and a software perspective.

    If you can get that to work, then you will have greatly stabilized your situation. If you can't, then you will have to continue nursing along your very old setup, hoping and praying that it doesn't crash and leave you without recourse.

  7. #7
    Silver Lounger
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    Yeah, perfect use for a VM, keep it alive on a more modern system, just make copies of the VM for backup so you can feel free to muck about and experiment. I was hoping Paragon's GoVirtual program supported ME but looks like the cutoff is W2K.

    Oft times a repair install (basically just reinstalling again) will fix a problem OR that means it is something in the user configurations and storage that is messed up. I would try that and a different profile (new) before I sighed and went in manually.

  8. #8
    4 Star Lounger
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    A technique that sometimes works when an application refuses to uninstall is to try to install it again over itself to see whether that makes it uninstallable.

    In any event, once you've obtained a restorable backup image of your system you can try all sort of things (including those other uninstallers you were worried about) without the fear of turning your only copy of the system into a paperweight (especially if you don't have install disks and product keys for everything - including WinME itself - you'd need to rebuild your system from scratch).

  9. #9
    2 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by - bill View Post
    A technique that sometimes works when an application refuses to uninstall is to try to install it again over itself to see whether that makes it uninstallable.

    In any event, once you've obtained a restorable backup image of your system you can try all sort of things (including those other uninstallers you were worried about) without the fear of turning your only copy of the system into a paperweight (especially if you don't have install disks and product keys for everything - including WinME itself - you'd need to rebuild your system from scratch).
    X2. I've used this technique and it usually works.
    George

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    REVO Uninstalleri

    Try Revo Uninstaller. It uinstalls the progam and cleans up registry entries, among other items and it's free.

  11. #11
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by snert View Post
    Try Revo Uninstaller. It uinstalls the progam and cleans up registry entries, among other items and it's free.
    See original post.

  12. #12
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    Back in my Windows ME days, I had a device that became unoperable, wouldn't uninstall, and I couldn't re-install because it said it was already installed. I ended up using the Microsoft Installer Clean-Up Utility, which finished the un-install process. I then was able to re-install the device.
    It's not promoted by MS anymore, but it can still be found.

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