Thursday, April 23, 2015

Server Core: Uninstalling an application without control panel

As I spend more time in Windows Server Core and Hyper-V Server I appreciate more of the under-workings of the operation system, I also appreciate GUI more :).  Without a control panel uninstalling an application is not as straightforward.

In a command prompt open up the registry editor:

Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Here installed programs are listed by application ID.
Browse through them and look for the Display Name to identify the application you need to uninstall.
There will be a key called UninstallString, right click to Modify and copy its contents:
This value will be used in the command prompt, running msiexec.exe with the /i switch.  /i configures the application.
Depending on the application, the uninstaller will run, which may be a GUI or another automated uninstaller.

You should see the Application ID removed from the Uninstall reg key from above.