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Completely uninstall Windows Desktop search (any version)
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Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:10 am Reply and quote this post
Uninstalling Windows Desktop Search

When uninstalling Windows Desktop Search on individual systems, it is recommended that the product be removed using the Add/Remove Programs functionality provided in Windows Control Panel. When uninstalling from Add/Remove Programs, be sure the check the Show Updates option and uninstall the newest product or product updates first.

While using Add/Remove programs to uninstall WDS 2.6.0 or later you may receive a message dialog stating “Setup has detected the following programs on your computer:” followed by a list of updates. This dialog also states that “If Windows Desktop Search is removed; these programs may not run properly. Do you wish to continue?”. This is a due to the fact that WDS is installed using an update.exe package and is listed with other Windows updates. Some products updates are dependant on previous updates and if one is removed, it may cause issues. This is not the case with WDS and removing WDS will not disable or impact any other programs or updates listed.

When uninstalling Windows Desktop Search through a script or third party product, if the Add/Remove Programs feature is not an option, it is suggested that the uninstall package (Spuinst.exe) be used, for the most recent versions. Although Windows Desktop Search does create a system restore point as part of the installation it is not the recommended method of removing the product from users systems.

To uninstall Windows Desktop Search, use the Uninstaller package from the following locations for the following versions:

Version  Location %systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB907371-V2$\spuninst %systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB907371$\spuninst

2.6.5.Beta %systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB911993\spuninst %systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB911993-V2$\spuninst %systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB917979$\spunins

Uninstall Options:

1. Interactive – Spuninst.exe is run without any command-line arguments. Uninstaller prompts for restart at the end.

2.Quiet – Spuninst.exe is run using the ‘/q’ or ‘/quiet’ command-line argument. Uninstaller forcefully restarts the system without informing the user after un-installation is complete
%systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB907371-V2$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /q

systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB907371-V2$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /quiet

3. Passive – Spuninst.exe is run using the ‘/passive’ command-line argument. Uninstaller prompts for restart displaying the wait time in seconds for automatic restart.
%systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB907371-V2$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /passive

Other command-line options are available in /help message. Please run the “spuninst.exe /help” command-line to see the other available options.

Uninstalling versions and

Note: Version 2.6.X will not install properly on a system currently running version or earlier. You must first uninstall the older version then install the newer version.

Use the Msiexec.exe program to uninstall. Below are two suggested methods for uninstalling these packages.

Using the Product Code

To locate the Product code in the registry, click Start then Run and type “Regedit” in the Open drop down box and press enter. Next browse to the following location:


The Product Code will be listed in the value of the PC key. For example version PC registry value is 7d1dcbba-f6f5-42b4-b90b-f04ace4dfd6c.

Execute the following command line, listing the product code with in brackets. For Version the command line would be as noted below. Please note the brackets “{}” are required for this method to be successful.

Note: The /x switch causes Msiexec to uninstall the product and the /qn switch will ensure that there is no display while uninstalling. Please see msiexec.exe help (type msiexec /? From a command prompt) for more information regarding command line options for Msiexec.exe.

Msiexec.exe /x {7d1dcbba-f6f5-42b4-b90b-f04ace4dfd6c} /qn

Using the MSN Search Toolbar Windows Installer (.msi)

The MSN Search Toolbar Windows Installer (.msi) is located in the following location:

%windrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\MSN Search Toolbar\<Version Number&gt;\en-us

In the path listed above “<Version Number&gt;” is the version of the product being uninstalled, for example 02.05.0000.1082.

Use the following command line to uninstall the product.

msiexec.exe /x "<Windrive&gt;:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\MSN Search Toolbar\<Version Number&gt;\en-us\MsnSearchToolbar.msi" /qn

First method is preferred because the only required variable is the product code that is taken from the registry. For the second method, we need to give the <windrive&gt; and the <version number&gt; of the product installed in the command-line.

On, Kotsar Andrew wrote The way to uninstall Windows Desktop Search 3.01
Dear friends,

I propose there a solution of trouble with Windows Desktop Search 3
deinstallation, discussed occasionally in Internet. I've got this
trouble too! The last update to version 3.01 invoked a serious system
resources leak and my work become slower twicer, my pauses to wait the
reaction from my computer increased from seconds to minutes, and I
understood that without reanimation my computer will work for 80% of
time only for this brilliant WDS!

But it's impossible to uninstall it in my Windows XP SP2 (and to
install f.e. Google Desktop instead)! I have not found any solution in
Internet, in newsgroups, even from Microsoft! So "if the mountain
won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain!

There is my proposal to an answer "How to uninstall Windows Desktop
Search 3.0x"! Your comments and notes would be highly appreciated!

In the situation of incorrect setup utility behaviour of Windows
Desktop Search 3.0x, recommendations from Microsoft like "http://"
and advices to use advanced uninstall tools are unuseful. The cause is
in some incomprehensible bug (or "feature"?!) when in some situations
after the setup of WDS the uninstall information is losted (f.e. for
WDS 3.01 it must be a folder "C:\WINDOWS\$NtUninstallKB917013$").
Without this uninstall information it's impossible to uninstall such a
complex application (there are drivers, filters, CLSID's etc.)

To solve the problem you can create the uninstall information file
yourself manually, like the setup unitity!

I propose the next algorithm to uninstall WDS (and many others
applications) manually:
0. Not to forget about renew system restore point, system files
backup, system restore disk before to begin!
1. To find the setup configuration file "update.inf" in the
2. To collect in some special folder the files: spuninst.exe,
3. To convert the setup information from update.inf to uninstall
information file spuninst.inf and put spuninst.inf to the same folder
as in spuninst.exe
4. To run spuninst.exe - that's all!

This is a working method, I used it successfully whe this WDS 3.01
slowed down my computer catastrophically and Microsoft can't propose
any decision to solve problem! BUT it's for your own risk!

There is a common way:
1. Unpack the distributive (f.e. Start-&gt;Run-&gt;WindowsDesktopSearch-
KB917013-V301-XP-x86-enu.exe -x) in some folder f.e. "UnpWDSSetup"
2. Create folder to store the uninstall information, f.e. "UnpWDSSetup
3. Copy to from "UnpWDSSetup" to "UnpWDSSetup\spuninst\": spuninst.exe
4. Copy to from "UnpWDSSetup\update\" to "UnpWDSSetup\spuninst\":
5. Get as a template any "spuninst.inf" file from "%SystemRoot%\
$NtUninstallxxxxx$". This file contains the common uninstall
information structure for spuinist.exe utility. But the contents
depends on the appliaction to uninstall! By analysing this template
"spuninst.inf" and "UnpWDSSetup\update\update.inf" you can
successfully build the contents of "UnpWDSSetup\spuninst\spuninst.inf"
necessary to uninstall WDS. It's not so difficult, but at the end of
this post I'll quote such an example of spuininst.inf to uninstall
Windows Desktop Search 3.01
6. Edit the section of "UnpWDSSetup\spuninst\spuninst.inf" and set
"RebootRequired = 1"
7. Before the happy to uninstall your folder "UnpWDSSetup\spuninst\"
must contain: spuninst.exe, spuninst.inf, updspapi.dll
8. Run "UnpWDSSetup\spuninst\spuninst.exe" and confirm that you can
exist without so beatiful Windows Desktop Search
9. At the end restart your system!

Best regards,
Andrew Kotsar

Microsoft has a trouble shooting guide here: Windows Desktop Search (WDS) Troubleshooting Guide

I used toe above fixes which reverted my search to the faster but less useful search companion, though Google Desktop is good. You could also try reinsalling Windows Desktop Search and then the uninstaller should appear on the Add/Remove list.

Also... the threat tactic. 'if you remove this software, lots of other stuff will break'. It should be ok.

Outlook 2007 wants to use WDS. If you don't have it installed it reverts to the old painfully slow previous search tech available in older versions of outlook. that is the only one i have found so far that actually matters.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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