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Disabling games that come with Windows is an easy task that doesn't involve any adjustments to Windows' registry.

I want to disable the windows games, like pinball and minesweeper. How can I do this in Regedit? I've made a registry back up and everything, I just want to know what values to set and where to find them.

Wanna make sure people can't play games? Fair enough.

Playing games with the registry isn't needed though.

Rather digging around in the registry, how about just uninstalling the games? In Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components, select Accessories and Utilities and press Details. Now deselect Games and press OK and/or Finish your way out. That should remove the games completely.

Without any risk to your registry.

Article C2259 - January 12, 2005 « »

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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.

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14 Comments
bijo
November 21, 2005 4:29 AM

your method of deleting games is not GOOOOOD.. some one can take the games from outside.. for example. sol.exe can be taken from outside throu' mail.. and they can simply play the game.. is there any possible way to avoid ppl playing the games in a computer..

jh
May 31, 2006 7:56 AM

How do I do this on 400+ machines? I don't want to run Add/Remove programs that many times. I like the idea of disabling them in the registry. Any ideas on how to do it there?

Phil
December 15, 2006 2:13 PM

Fair enough, so why is it that pinball.exe re-appears in my NT folder everytime I delete it, and is not listed as a Windows component?

Tejas Raval
July 16, 2007 11:34 AM

System administrators are often asked to remove games such as FreeCell or Pinball from Windows machines. Sometimes deleting the executables and their shortcuts is not as easy as you might think; Windows will restrict you from deleting them.

To remove these components you will need to use the sysocmgr.exe utility (available at C:\WINDOWS\system32), which is used to add or remove Windows components. This utility uses a txt file that can be scripted.

Here is an example of how you can use this utility to remove the Pinball game from a Windows XP machine:


Create a text file to say "remove.txt" with the following things written in it:

[Components]
Pinball = off

Now save this file, for instance, on your C drive.

Go to command line and enter following command:
sysocmgr /i:C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\sysoc.inf /u:C:\remove.txt /q
The following is the description of the switches which can be been used with the above command:

/i The location of the .inf file for sysocmgr.exe. This is normally in the System32 directory or at "C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386"

/r Suppresses a reboot (in case if a reboot is needed on removal of specific components).

/q Runs the utility in quiet mode to suppress prompts.

/u Specifies the location of the .txt file.

/w Prompts the user to reboot instead of rebooting automatically (in case if a reboot is needed on removal of specific components).

Users may use any of the switches based on their requirement. After the execution of this command you will find that the Pinball game from your system has been removed.

Tim
September 20, 2007 7:15 AM

I have the same problem and I found a program at http://www.browsecontrol.com/index.htm that took care of it. Like you I needed a way to "consistently" block these programs and prevent them from coming back on 100s of PCs with out having to go to each and every device (not feasible). This program has a management console where you can "push" out the restrictions remotely. Moreover, you can disable jump drives and CDROM access and Internet sites or access all together. Additionally, this uses checksum so even if they rename a file it will not run. Check it out.

As far as Reg hacks, I wasn't able to find anything that worked for what I wanted. What was posted previously looks good but some of the more talented users could pull games from the Internet or simply from a floppy. MSHEARTS and FREECELL are simple EXEs and don't require anything to run.

Rajeev
October 23, 2007 12:29 AM

If there are programs that does application blocking(like BrowseControl), you can probably block regedit.exe or regedt32.exe to block any Registry hacking.

Derreck
April 13, 2008 8:46 PM

hi everyone, I'm having problem in my network due to
uncontrollable network games. I already disabled add/remove features to all the computers so that they have no way that they can install any applications nor games in their corresponding PC's, but the problem here is that they can still play games (i.e. DOTA-WatCraft) in their machine if they copied the installed games from other computer. they just copied the whole installed folder and paste it in their PC. Is there any other way that I can resolved this. Any help and advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks and more power.

Kerly
July 23, 2008 2:04 PM

thanks for helping me to delete freecell and spider from my pc. Ive been trying to do that by control panel, but i just got rid of windows games with your tips.

:)

John Ryan
December 4, 2009 1:16 PM

That is a horrible way to get rid of games for people in a company. Not everyone is ignorant of the process and can simply reinstall the games by undoing what you did in the first place. However, not everyone is comfortable messing with the registry if it means ruining an OS on a computer they don't own.

Interociter Operator
February 16, 2010 5:54 PM

We uninstalled all the games, then made an executable that was a graphic that said "Get Back To Work", and copied it to the harddrive as "sol.exe", "winmine.exe", etc., etc...
But then, we're meanies.... ;-)

Ashutosh Keskar
August 12, 2011 1:31 AM

Not only in the case of game as network admin or system admin we need to follow some basic security on PC as well as Security. Need to define startergy for all user where they can put their data keep centerlized shared folders on network restrict user to access / create indivisual folder share.

Ashutosh Keskar
August 12, 2011 1:34 AM

regarding windows based game, better to uninstall the game through administrator and allow user to use pc through normal user so they couldnt reinstall it.

Parthipan
January 9, 2012 7:54 AM

Thank you sir. This is very useful for my office PC.

Tache
March 7, 2013 7:33 PM

Thank you to for this tip. It's a big help. :)

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