Uninstall XP Powertoys in Windows Vista

Among the snags you'll encounter when upgrading an XP system to Vista is that you may be unable to remove some software written exclusively for Windows XP. The problem is that some installers (which are also the uninstallers) refuse to operate on Vista.
A notable example are Microsoft's own Powertoys; try to remove them after Vista has been installed, and you'll get nothing more than a message stating that the software only works on XP. Here's how to remove XP powertoys (and perhaps other software exhibiting the same problem) in Vista:

  • Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  • Using the right mouse button, drag the file msiexec.exe to an empty spot on your desktop. (Don't use the left button, lest the file be moved instead of copied.)
  • From the menu that appears, select Copy Here.
  • Right-click the msiexec.exe file now on the desktop, select Properties, and choose the Compatibility tab.
  • Turn on the Run this program in compatibility mode for option, choose Windows XP (Service Pack 2) from the list, and click OK.
  • Next, go back to Windows Explorer, and navigate to the C:\Windows\Downloaded Installations folder. Here you'll find a handful of .msi installer files, each of which corresponds to a different installed program.
  • Pick one of the .msi files (with a name matching the powertoy to remove), open the Start menu, and type/paste the following line into the Run/Search box (all on one line):
  • and press Enter. Note the quotation marks around the path pointing to the . msi file and the spaces on either side of the /x parameter. Change C:\Windows if your Windows folder is located elsewhere.
  • When the uninstall is complete, you can delete the .msi file and then repeat step #7 with the next one until they're all gone.
  • When you're all done, delete the msiexec.exe from the desktop.


Anonymous said...

Tryed to uninstall the task switcher Powertoy using the directions, didn't work. Same error about windows version :(

Anonymous said...

Try "Your Uninstaller 2006" from CNET Downloads. It's vista compatible and worked well for removing those pesky XP PowerToys.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you did that you left out, but your instructions don't work.

%userprofile%\desktop\msiexec.exe /x "c:\windows\Downloaded installations\Calculator Powertoy for Windows XP.msi"

still results in the same "this won't run except under XP" error.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, this worked great for me! If only I'd known about these instructions before I manually removed ActiveSync 4.5, which also refuses to run or uninstall under Vista.

Melanee said...

It's also failing for me with the same error: "The powertoys require Windows XP or a service pack. They will not function on a version of Windows earlier or later than Windows XP."

I ensured that the msiexec.exe was on the desktop and had Run this program in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2).

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