Friday, April 28, 2006

How to uninstall IE7 beta 2

I never did hear back from the Microsoft free support line for IE 7. After assuring me that he'd call me yesterday between 2 and 4 PM, I got a follow up email from the tech that let me know his hours ended daily at 1:30 PST. In other words, he was never going to get in touch with me. That's too bad because I think he honestly wanted to assist me. Assuming that this was just a timing error on his part, why have I not heard back from him? No worries as I found the "solution" and will send an email back outlining the solution after I post to this here blog.

Quick recap: While installing IE 7.0 Beta 2, I got several pop up messages from my antispyware software (Microsoft, Zone Alarm, Spyware Blaster, and Ad-Watch). During one of those messages, I refused to let IE's install program reset the start page. When the install finished, I got a message declaring that the install had failed. I needed to do a reboot and the browser would be rolled back to IE 6. After rebooting, IE 7 was still on the machine. Apparently (I found this out in research), instructions for removing IE 7 were supposed to be posted on the desktop, but were not. So, a complete cock up.

From Microsoft's site, I found the following suggestions for properly removing IE 7.0

  1. Go to Start
  2. Go To Control Panel
  3. Click Add/Remove Programs
  4. Click the check box next to "Show Updates"
  5. Locate IE 7 Beta 2 in the program list and click "Remove"

I followed these instructions and got an error indicating that only the user account that installed the program could uninstall the program. To uninstall, log in as that user and then follow the procedure. The problem was that I was logged in as that user. I tried logging in as administrator, just in case and got the same results. Another method supplied by Microsoft:

  1. Go to WINDOWS\$NtUninstallie7beta2$\spuninst\spuninst.exe and run the program

The result was the user error once again. Blech! That's when I called Microsoft support. As noted, I spent 77 minutes on the phone with them and got nowhere. Then, he never called back - a tech support dumping. I felt ashamed, used.

Today, I have tackled the beast. I got advice from a couple of different sites. One was a forum and the other site I don't recall. Both options seemed reasonable. The first one is this:

  1. Go to Start and click Run
  2. Type in regedit
  3. Go to HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
  4. In the right hand pane right click the mouse and choose New>Key
  5. Name the new key InstalledByUser then create it
  6. Right click on the new key and add the following value: the name of your user account
  7. Close out of everything
  8. Now, follow the Microsoft instructions above for using Add/Remove programs

Doing this worked for me and it rolled back IE to version 6. During the uninstall, a scary message popped up noting all of the programs that were installed after IE7 that might not work if I continue the uninstall. Actually, the list of programs went back to my original install on my machine of Windows. So, the list was long and bogus. Microsoft probably feels justified posting it from a legal standpoint (a cya if I ever saw one), but it seems to me to be more of a scare tactic, especially in light of the fact that it rolls back the browser to IE 6. An example? Spider Solitaire was on the list and it does not rely on IE in the least. Bad move.

Another suggestion I saw, but did not try (read: use at your own risk) though it did make sense was to navigate to the following location:

  1. \WINDOWS\$NtUninstallie7beta2$\spuninst\spuninst.inf
  2. Open the spuninst.inf file in Notepad.
  3. Find the term "Prerequisite".
  4. Delete the entry for the prerequisite.
  5. Save the file and try Add/Remove.

In the first instance, you are specifically entering in the registry key needed to make the uninstall work. In the second instance, you are deleting the need for that entry to exist in the first place. FWIW, after rebooting I did the install for IE 7 again. This time I turned off Ad-Watch (just to eliminate one of the programs communicating with me) and accepted all of the new entries that IE 7 wanted to add. I got a message saying that I had a successful install. After rebooting, I've confirmed it.

If you want to try IE 7 without cocking up your machine, I recommend the IE 7 standalone launch script. It really works.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The second method works like a charm!!!