Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Removing updates from "Add-Remove Programs" would be a bad idea. You would be removing updates that your system needs to run smoothly and safely.

I'm running Windows XP. My add and remove programs is filled with lists of updates. Can these be removed? question

In this excerpt from Answercast #100 I look at why program updates are important to keep on your computer.

Remove updates from Add-Remove Programs

The short answer is no.

The updates are there for a reason. You don't want to remove updates from your system as you would be removing critical security fixes to your system. Removing those updates would render your system probably more unstable and definitely more vulnerable to malware out on the internet.

So, no, you don't want to remove updates.

Windows XP Updates

Set updates display

Now, if they are the updates that I'm thinking of... in Windows XP there is a checkbox that will let you say "Show me the updates in this list".

In other words, in Add/Remove Programs, you may have the opportunity to turn off the display of updates. It depends on which list you're looking at so I'm not going to get into real specific details here - but look around for that kind of a setting.

If it's not there, then no, you want those updates on your system. The Add/Remove Programs list is going to show them because they were, in fact, installed on your system.

But like I said, you definitely want them. You don't remove them. They are there for very specific reasons.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6370 - March 29, 2013 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Robert Waller
March 30, 2013 11:24 AM

There is another way round this, Look at the info on this web page:

If you follow that and delete the uninstall files, then they will disappear from the Add/Remove section of Control Pane

Billy Bob
March 30, 2013 3:57 PM

Was the asker really asking how to remove updates? I was thinking he/she might just want to remove them from the list of installed software. They are kind of cluttering up the list ya know!

Mark J
March 31, 2013 4:45 AM

@Billy Bob
That was my first impression reading the question, but the article also explains how to hide them from being displayed, so it appears that Leo understood what the questioner meant. It shows why it's so important to phrase a question correctly, as the person answering the question just might interpret it literally. ;-)

April 2, 2013 9:10 AM

CClearer also allows you to remove the items from the list. I do that as part of my monthly running of CCleaner.

April 2, 2013 5:50 PM

I won't remove the updates but I do remove the uninstaller for them. There's a check box in the handy-dandy CCleaner just for that. This will free some HD room.

April 2, 2013 9:19 PM

Hi, Leo. Welcome back. Kudos for a job well done for many years. I regularly remove all versions of Java updates except the most recent Java update and advise others to do so also. Previous versions of Java updates can interfere with latest Java update. :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.