I can’t uninstall a program – here’s how

The other day I received an email from a friend that went something like this: “Hi Salvatore, I’m contacting you because I have a problem on my PC. I’ve been trying for several days, but I can’t uninstall a program . When I try to do this from the Windows Control Panel, I get some strange error messages that prevent me from moving forward. Can you help me?”

In fact I have also received other messages of this type, some concerning Windows, others instead from Mac users, so I decided to take care of the topic and dedicate a post to it. Given the vagueness of the question, I will not be able to provide precise information as I usually do and I will have to be slightly more vague. However, do not worry, I assure you that we will still be able to solve the problem.

If you also have a program that doesn’t want to unsubscribe from your computer, I guarantee you will get rid of it in one way or another. All you have to do is go by trial and error, follow all the “tips” I am about to give you and proceed until you are able to get the desired result. So, tell me, are you ready to go to work? I wish you happy reading.


  • I can’t uninstall a program from Windows 10
    • Safe mode
    • Dedicated uninstaller
    • Third party utility
    • Restore points
    • Anti-spyware scan
  • I can’t uninstall a program from my Mac
    • Dedicated uninstaller
    • Third party utility
  • I can’t uninstall an app from Android
  • I can’t uninstall an app from iOS

I can’t uninstall a program from Windows 10

If you can’t uninstall a program and you’re using a Windows 10 PC , try one of the procedures below.

Safe mode

Are you unable to uninstall a program from Windows 10 , as the operating system tells you that some of its files are in use? In this case, the quickest way to go is to proceed with uninstalling the software using Windows 10 Safe Mode .

If I had never heard of it, the latter is a particular starting state of the operating system, which loads only the drivers of the fundamental peripherals (video, processor, motherboard and little else), leaving aside all the superfluous, instead. including programs that start with Windows.

To start Windows 10 in safe mode, click on the Start button (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen), click on the Shut down button located on the side and, holding down the Shift key on the keyboard, click the Restart option .

Now, wait a few moments for the advanced boot options to load and press, in sequence, on the items Troubleshoot , Advanced options, Startup settings and Restart . Following this operation, the computer should restart and display, shortly after, the Windows boot options screen: when this happens, press key 4 on the keyboard, to enter safe mode, and wait for the operating system is loaded. If you have any doubts or problems, you can refer to the information I have given you in this tutorial .

Once you have entered the safe mode of Windows 10, you must follow the standard uninstallation procedure provided by the operating system: open the Start menu , click on the Settings button (the one in the shape of a gear located on the side) and then on the App options and Apps and features .

Finally, click on the name of the program to be deleted, choosing it from the list that appears below, press the Uninstall button twice in a row and follow the instructions given to you to delete the program from your computer. After uninstalling everything you need, simply restart your computer to be able to log into Windows in “normal” mode.

Dedicated uninstaller

If the procedure I have indicated to you a little while ago should not be effective for you because, for example, the name of the program does not appear among those present in the dedicated panel, you can try to remedy the problem using the dedicated uninstaller of the software in question.

Generally, it resides in the dedicated folder of the software in question: therefore, open the File Explorer , click on the item This PC on the side and go to the path C: \ Program Files \ [program name] or C: \ Program Files ( x86) \ [program name] . Once you reach this path, locate a file called Uninstall [program name] .exe , Uninstall [program name] .exe , Remove [program name] or similar, and run it by double clicking on its icon: with a bit of luck, following the directions given to you on the screen, you should be able to get rid of the uncomfortable guest.

Alternatively, if you cannot find the aforementioned folder, you can download the appropriate removal program from the Internet : such solutions are made available by the manufacturers of some software, especially antivirus and drivers, to facilitate the user with the task of removing all the components of a specific program, including the “invisible” tracks present in the log or scattered around the hard disk.

The more “complex” software, in fact, is deeply rooted in the system, are composed of a large number of files and create many keys in the Windows registry, and it is for this reason that they often need special utilities to be successfully removed from the PC. I have provided you with practical examples in some of my guides to uninstalling antivirus programs.

  • How to uninstall Avast .
  • How to uninstall AVG .
  • How to uninstall Avira .
  • How to uninstall Kaspersky .
  • How to uninstall Norton .

To try to recover this type of utility, try to search on Google for phrases such as [program name] uninstall utility or [program name] removal tool , but be careful: proceed with the download of the uninstallation tool only if it is hosted by the site or from the official forum of the program you intend to remove.

Personally, I advise against trusting other third-party solutions, hosted by different Internet sites or portals, which may malfunction or even hide viruses.

Note : Almost all removal software should be run from Windows Safe Mode to be effective .

Third party utility

If there is no official uninstall tool available dedicated to the program you are trying to delete, you can turn to a third-party solution with proven reliability and efficiency, such as Revo Uninstaller .

In detail, it is a small program that allows you to uninstall programs on Windows, including those not listed in the control panel, in a meticulous way and without leaving any trace, thanks to a thorough analysis of the system registry.

Revo Uninstaller is available in three versions: a free one , more than enough for the purposes for this guide; and two for a fee (starting at $ 24.95), which include additional features such as removing browser extensions, uninstalling multiple software at the same time, and continuous registry monitoring.

To download the free and portable version (i.e. that does not require installation) of Revo Uninstaller, connect to its official website and click first on the Free Downloads button and then on the Portable button , located in the Revo Uninstaller Freeware box , in order to start the download of the program .zip package .

Once you have the file , extract it to a folder of your choice; for greater efficiency, following this operation, I suggest you start Windows 10 in safe mode (I explained how to do it in the initial section of this chapter) and carry out the next steps from there.

In any case, open the folder extracted previously, double-click on the file , in order to start the program, and press the OK button to accept the license for use. After a few moments, you should see the main Revo Uninstaller window and, after a few seconds, the list of programs installed on Windows.RevoUPort.exe

When you first start, the program’s interface is in English: to translate it into Italian, click on the Options (top), then the item General visible in the left side bar, set the drop-down menu Current language of Italian and awards on the OK button , to confirm the change applied.

Now you are finally ready to delete all traces of unwanted programs: click on the Uninstaller button located at the top left, locate the name of the program of your interest from the list that appears below, double-click on it and, to get rid of it permanently, press the Continue button visible on the next screen.

I recommend: always leave the box for creating a restore point checked : even if this last step will lengthen the uninstallation time a bit, it is essential to be able to go back, should the deletion of the program make it unstable or unstable. the entire operating system is not working.

If everything went well, the standard uninstallation procedure should be started, which must be completed by following the on-screen instructions (it should be sufficient to always click on the Next or Next buttons ).

At the end of the uninstallation, you will be offered the procedure for deleting the residual files of the program: therefore put the check mark next to the Moderate item (to minimize the risk of deleting important files from the disk or from the Windows registry), press the button Scan and, at the end of the analysis, select the “orphaned” elements to be deleted and click on the Next and Yes buttons , to finish everything.

I recommend, only delete the files and registry keys that you know for sure relate to the selected software. If you have doubts about the real “identity” of an item, leave it on your computer, otherwise you could risk compromising the correct functioning of other programs.

I point out that, in the same way, you can also get rid of Windows 10 applications, whether they are downloaded from the Microsoft Store, or present “standard” in the operating system: to do so, first click on the Windows Apps button , then locate the name of the application to get rid of from the proposed list and proceed with the uninstallation of the latter, following the same steps seen above.

In this regard, I strongly advise against deleting applications necessary for the proper functioning of the operating system , such as the Extensions of images / videos / multimedia files , the voice assistant Cortana or, worse still, the App Installer : following operations of the generally, you may experience very unexpected Windows behavior.

If in the main Revo Uninstaller screen you cannot find the name of the program you want to uninstall, do this: click on the Viewfinder mode icon at the top, start the program to be deleted, move the Revo viewfinder on its window and click on the Uninstall item , located in the context menu that appears on the screen. In this way, Revo should intelligently detect the path of the program to be uninstalled and proceed with its removal.

To close the viewfinder mode, right click on its icon and select EXIT from the menu that appears; also from the same menu, you can also set the transparency of the icon and the automatic start options of that mode.

Note : By default, the Revo viewfinder appears at the top right of the screen, semi-transparent. If you don’t see it, just sharpen your eyes to find it… it could conveniently hide among the desktop icons!

Restore points

If, even in this way, you cannot solve the problem, you can try to delete a program that just does not go away by returning Windows 10 to a state prior to the day of installation of the same.

In this regard, you can use the system restore function present in Windows 10 (and in all other editions of Windows currently supported): however, for the process to be successful, it is essential to have a restore point prior to installation date of the “offending” program .

Also, keep in mind that if you bring your computer back, your personal files will remain intact , but any programs, drivers, or other applications that were installed after the restore point was created will be deleted .

If you are interested in taking this path, I refer you to reading my guide on how to restore your PC to a previous date , in which I have provided you with all the concrete indications on what to do.

Note : you can follow the same procedure even if the uninstallation of a program through Revo Uninstaller has had some unwelcome consequences.

Anti-spyware scan

How do you say? You do not need to delete a “classic” program, but a toolbar , a fake antivirus or any other malicious software that continues to infest your system, resistant to the various uninstallation processes that I showed you a moment ago?

In this case, you can act effectively using the appropriate removal tools for adware , spyware and other malware of this type: I have shown you practical examples in my guides on how to delete toolbar and how to uninstall Segurazo (which can be easily adapted to any other type of PUP , or potentially unwanted program).

I can’t uninstall a program from my Mac

Uninstalling applications from the Mac is very easy: just drag their icons to the Trash or, if they have been downloaded from the Mac App Store, make a long click on the respective icons in the LaunchPad and press the “x” that appears at the top left, when they begin to “dance”. However, in some cases these procedures do not work or are not sufficient to eliminate all traces of a software from the computer. If you can’t uninstall a program, try one of these possible solutions.

Dedicated uninstaller

Are you looking to uninstall an antivirus, a virtual machine manager, a full multimedia suite, or any application that scatters its files across multiple Mac locations? Then don’t try to move its icon to the Trash: it is very likely that the application has a dedicated tool that allows you to completely remove it from your computer.

Alternatively, try searching for the utility in question in the macOS Applications folder , in the dmg package through which you installed the program on your computer or in the File menu of the application itself.

Third party utility

If the program in question does not have a dedicated uninstall utility and you are concerned that it may leave “residues” lying around, you can use a third-party program, such as AppCleaner , to deal with it.

AppCleaner is a free application that, like Revo Uninstaller on Windows, allows you to erase the residual traces that software leave on your computer following their standard removal procedure. macOS does not have a registry like that of Windows, so the program only takes care of deleting “orphaned” files from the disk, but it can still be useful.

To download AppCleaner on your computer, connect to the program’s website and click on the first link located under the heading Downloads , visible in the left sidebar (eg Version 3.6 ). When the download is complete, drag the AppCleaner icon from the Downloads folder to the Mac Applications folder .

Before going ahead and running the program you just downloaded, make sure that the application to be deleted is completely closed ; if not, call up its window and click on the menu [Program name]> Exit / Exit , or press the combination of keys cmd + q on the keyboard.

When the operation is completed, start AppCleaner, press the Open button (you only have to do it the first time) and choose whether to automatically check for updates or not, by clicking on the appropriate button.

After that, drag the icon of the application you want to uninstall from the Mac into the window that opened. Then make sure that there is a check mark next to all the folders and files related to the selected software and click on the Remove button to move them to the trash (and thus completely uninstall the program). If prompted, enter your Mac password and press Enter to confirm the operation.

To delete all the traces of the program from the Mac, all you have to do is empty the trash can, by right-clicking on its icon and selecting the item Empty the trash from the context menu that appears.

I can’t uninstall an app from Android

If your problem concerns Android and it is impossible for you to uninstall an app, the cause could be found in the presence of administrator permissions : some apps, such as antivirus , anti-theft applications , parental control apps and launchers , have need to access “advanced” operating system features.

Generally, as a security measure, these applications also set an automatic block for uninstallation : when you try to delete them from your smartphone or tablet, a warning message is generated regarding an attempt to delete an app protected by administrator permissions.

If this is your case, you can revoke them in a very simple way: open the Android Settings , by tapping on the gear symbol located on the Home screen or in the app drawer, reach the sections Security> Device administration app and move from ON to OFF the switch corresponding to the application you intend to get rid of. Alternatively, tap on the name of the app in question and then on the Deactivate this device administration app button and OK .

Keep in mind that, depending on the version of Android you are using, the path to follow may vary slightly: on Xiaomi home smartphones equipped with the MIUI ROM , for example, the dedicated panel is located in the Settings> Privacy> Management> App menu with special access> Device administration app .

Once this operation is complete, you can uninstall the app in a “classic” way, by making a long tap on its icon and dragging it on the Uninstall item (or on the trash can icon ) that appears at the top of the screen. More info here .

If, on the other hand, you are interested in deleting the Android apps pre-installed by the manufacturer of your smartphone, because you do not think you need them, you will certainly have realized that the “standard” deletion procedure has no effect. This is normal behavior, as apps of this type cannot be deleted, unless you have previously unlocked the root permissions on the device.

If you have already done so, you must get the free Titanium Backup app for rooted devices , available on the Play Store and on alternative markets for Android . After identifying the app in your reference store, all you have to do is touch its name and press the Install button .

After downloading and installing the app, start it, tap the Allow button to grant it root permissions and tap the OK button twice in a row, in order to open the home screen of the app. Now, tap on the Backup / Restore button located at the top, then on the name of the app of your interest and, to delete it, press the Uninstall buttons and Yes . For more information on this, I refer you to reading my guide on how to uninstall apps that do not uninstall .

Please, pay close attention to what you decide to delete, and strictly avoid deleting Google apps , Android fundamental processes or any other important component of the operating system : otherwise, you may be forced to restore the device . If you have any doubts, search Google for the name of the app (or process) and evaluate, based on the indications you will find, whether to delete it or not. I warned you!

I can’t uninstall an app from iOS

If, on the other hand, yours is an iPhone (or an iPad ), things are different: the most recent versions of iOS , in fact, allow you to uninstall the pre-installed applications from Apple and easily replace them with alternatives.

So, all you have to do to delete a default app is to follow the “standard” procedure provided by iOS: make a long tap on its icon, select the item Remove app and press the Delete app button , located in the next panel. The app can then be re-downloaded at any time from the App Store .

If, in addition to deleting an application, you also want to permanently delete its data, go to the Settings> General> iPhone Space (or iPad Space) menu , tap on the name of the app to be deleted and, to delete its data as well, presses the Delete app button for two consecutive times. More info here .


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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