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November 2004 Reader Challenge

October 2004 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our October Reader Challenge, who won copies of "Windows Server Undocumented Solutions: Beyond the Knowledge Base," by Serdar Yegulalp (McGraw-Hill Publishing), and "Home Networking for Dummies" by yours truly (Wiley Publishing). Visit to read the answer to the October Reader Challenge.

November 2004 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by November 25, 2004. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win). I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on November 26, 2004.

The November 2004 Challenge:

If you support users, this challenge will probably sound familiar. A user wants to uninstall a software program. He tells you he opened the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet, selected the program, and then selected Remove. The uninstall process failed, but if he selects the program on the Programs menu, a “file not found” message appears. To qualify as a winner in this month’s Challenge, answer the following questions:

Question #1: What's the most common cause of this scenario?

ANSWER: The user did a “manual uninstall” by removing the program’s folder before opening the Add/Remove Programs applet. Many users won’t get around to admitting this. When Add/Remove Programs can’t find the target site, it can’t remove the program.

Question #2: How can you remove the program’s listing from the Add/Remove Programs applet?

ANSWER: The programs listed in the Add/Remove Programs applet are in the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. A subkey exists for each installed program listed in the applet. (Some of the subkeys are class IDs, so you must select them and view the program name in the right pane of Regedit.) Remove the subkey for the program that's no longer installed on the computer but is still listed in Add/Remove Programs. Before you make the change, export (back up) the Uninstall key so that you can restore the list if you make a mistake

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