Troubleshoot installing or uninstalling programs

Here are solutions to some common problems with installing or uninstalling programs. For general information about installing and uninstalling programs, see Install a program and Uninstall or change a program.

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I can't install a program made for an earlier version of Windows.

Most programs written for Windows XP also work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not run at all. If an older program doesn't run correctly or doesn't install, start the Program Compatibility Wizard, which simulates an earlier version of Windows. You can run the wizard on the setup program itself if the program doesn't install, or you can run the wizard on the program if it installs but doesn't run correctly. For more information, see Make older programs run in this version of Windows‍.

The program I am trying to install or run says I must have administrator rights, but I am an administrator on the computer.

If you are trying to install, right-click the installation icon for the program, and then click Run as administrator. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If the program installs but does not run, right-click the program icon, click Properties, click the Compatibility tab, select the Run this program as an administrator check box, and then try to run the program.

I can't install a program from the Internet.

Try downloading the program's installation file to your computer first, and then running it from your computer, rather than running it from the Internet. For more information, see Downloading files from the Internet: frequently asked questions

How do I change the folder where a program installs?

You can usually choose the location of the folder during the setup process. You might decide to change the default location if you have created multiple partitions on your hard disk and want to store programs on a specific partition. We don't recommend moving program files after they have been installed; if you have moved program files, you might need to reinstall the program to make it work correctly.

Some programs that are included with Windows, such as games, don't show up under Programs and Features. How do I install or uninstall them?

Access to certain Windows programs can be controlled by using Windows Features in Control Panel. For more information, see Turn Windows features on or off.

When trying to install a program from a CD, I insert the CD but nothing happens.

If the program does not begin installing, browse to the program's setup file (usually called Setup.exe or Install.exe) and double-click the icon to start the installation.

I installed a program but I don't see it listed under Programs and Features. How do I uninstall it?

Only programs that were written for Windows will appear in Programs and Features. If you don't see the program listed and you want to uninstall the program, check the information that came with your program, or go to the manufacturer's website. Most programs install themselves in the C:\Program Files folder. Check this folder because some programs also include an uninstall program that you can try.

What can I try if the program won't uninstall?

If the program doesn't uninstall completely the first time, sometimes running the uninstall program a second time will succeed.

If that doesn't work, try uninstalling the program while Windows is running in Safe mode. For more information, search help for "safe mode."

If you installed the program recently, you can try using System Restore to return your computer's system files to an earlier date before you installed the program. For more information, search Help for "system restore."

What does "change" a program mean?

Some programs that appear in Programs and Features can, in addition to being installed or uninstalled, be changed or repaired. By clicking Change, Repair, or Change/Repair (depending on the button displayed), you can install or uninstall optional features of the program. Not all programs use the Change buttons; many only offer Uninstall.

How do I install Windows?

For general information, see Installing and reinstalling Windows. If you encounter problems during installation, see Troubleshoot Windows installation problems.

Can I uninstall Windows Vista?

No, but you can reinstall your previous operating system, which then replaces Windows Vista. To reinstall your old operating system, you must have the original installation disc. Back up your programs and files, insert the installation disc into your computer, and then reinstall the old operating system. To regain the hard disk space used by Windows Vista, reformat the disk during the reinstallation process. After reinstalling your previous operating system, reinstall your programs and files.

How do I activate Windows?

For information about activation and product keys, see Activating Windows: frequently asked questions.

How do I install updates to Windows?

Use automatic updating to ensure that Windows stays up to date with the latest fixes from Microsoft, including driver updates. For more information, see Install Windows updates.

Can I uninstall Internet Explorer?

No, but if you have installed a different web browser, you can use that one instead. Most browsers display a message asking if you want to use that browser as a default. For more information, see Change which programs Windows uses by default.

I installed a new music player and it now plays music formats that I want another program to play.

Some media players offer to be the default player for all types of file formats they are capable of playing. Usually, you can select the formats the player plays by default from within the player itself. You can also change program defaults and set file associations for programs from within Windows. For more information, see Change which programs Windows uses by default.

I installed a new device on my computer and it does not work correctly.

Hardware devices require drivers to function properly. Windows includes drivers for many devices, but you might need to install a specific driver for your device. For more information, see Tips for fixing common driver problems.

What if none of these suggestions help me install the program?

Your program might be incompatible with this version of Windows. Check the information that came with your computer, or go to the manufacturer's website to see if there is an updated version of the program.