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There are several Windows components that don't show up on the common Add/Remove programs list. Some show up elsewhere and can still be removed.
How can I get rid of Windows programs I will never use? Outlook Express, Netmeeting, Frontpage, Movie Maker, Gaming Zone and others. I hate the way Microsoft does not allow them to be uninstalled.
Actually Microsoft does allow many of those to be uninstalled. How to do so is just really confusing at times. You'd think that they would show up on the Add/Remove programs list. Unfortunately you'd often be wrong.
It turns out there's a subtle distinction between what is and is not a "Windows Component", and that makes all the difference.
In most cases when software is installed it also shows up in the Add/Remove Programs list in control panel:
In Windows Vista this same list is available as "Programs and Features" in Control Panel:
In both cases not everything we might want to control is listed.
In Windows XP click on Add/Remove Windows Components, on the left hand side of the Add/Remove Programs list, and you'll be presented with even more things you can control:
Scroll down in that list and you'll see things like Outlook Express which you can uncheck to remove.
However, as the late night TV infomercials so often say: "but wait, there's more!"
Pay close attention to the Details button. If it's enabled, it means that there are more items that can be individually controlled. For example, with "Accessories and Utilities" selected if you press it, you'll get this:
With Accessories selected, you'll see you can click Details again to get this list of accessories:
Unfortunately there's no easy way to know what's where, or how many levels of "Details" button clicks you need to go to discover whether the components you're interested in are going to be there. Outlook Express is there, I believe Netmeeting should be there, as well as many other items you might not consider to be "Windows Components".
Windows Vista changed both the terminology and the look. In Vista click on Turn Windows features on or off and you'll get:
They've replaced the "Details" button with a more familiar tree representation. That should make finding what you're looking for a little easier. The basic concept remains the same: windows components, aka features, can be turned on or off which I believe will cause Windows to install or uninstall the associated software.
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