Cleaning up after an incomplete uninstallation on a Windows host
This article describes the procedures for cleaning up after an incomplete uninstallation of various VMware products.
If you have never installed a VMware product previously, but are having installation trouble, see Troubleshooting a VMware hosted product that does not install (1005027)
If you are seeing an MSI error, see Troubleshooting an MSI error during a VMware product or Tools installation (1031302)
If you have a Linux host, see Manually uninstalling VMware Workstation from Linux hosts (38)
Note to ACE users: This article includes information on cleaning up an incomplete uninstallation of VMware ACE Manager on an administrator's computer, and incomplete uninstallation of ACE 2.x packages on end user computers. For more information on cleaning up after an incomplete uninstallation of a VMware ACE 1.x package on an end user's computer, see Cleaning up after an incomplete VMware ACE 1.x uninstallation on a Windows host (1526)
VMware products might not install on Windows hosts if the installer detects certain other VMware products on the computer. These products might be incorrectly detected, even if the products have already been removed. This can occur if registry keys that should be removed during the uninstallation of a product are left behind. Registry keys can be left behind if the host computer hangs or resets while you are uninstalling the previous product. When the installer finds these registry keys, it interprets their presence as an indication that the previous product is still installed.
To troubleshoot an incomplete uninstallation, work through the Prerequisite steps, then proceed to the Troubleshooting steps. Do not skip the Prerequisite steps.
Before performing the Troubleshooting steps:
Make sure that you are logged into the Windows host as a local administrator. A Domain Administrator does not necessarily have the correct permissions on components the installer must access.
For more information, see:
Windows XP and Vista – The Microsoft article User accounts: frequently asked questions
Windows 7 – The Microsoft article How do I log on as an administrator?
Note: The preceding links were correct as of February 25, 2010. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.
Disable firewalls and antivirus programs on protected systems. If your security policy allows this, disable any firewall and antivirus software you have installed. Some security programs can interfere with the installation process. You can do this by using the Windows System Configuration (msconfig) utility to disable all non-Microsoft startup utilities. For more information, see Using the Windows System Configuration utility (1004010) . Restart Windows, so that only the enabled Microsoft services are running.
Work through each of the steps below, and reboot your Windows host after each step:
Uninstall the program using Add/Remove Programs > Remove. If the VMware product is still listed in Add/Remove Programs, try rebooting your computer and then uninstalling the VMware product:
Reboot the Windows host.
Go to the Control Panel and click Add/Remove Programs.
Select the VMware product from the list of programs shown.
When the uninstallation finishes, reboot the Windows host again.
Depending on what you are uninstalling, perform one of these options:
If you are uninstalling Workstation 5.x, 6.x., or 7.x, use the Workstation uninstaller.
While you are logged on as a member of the Local Administrators group, run the installer program from a command prompt with a special switch, to automatically remove the MSI registration information for VMware Workstation. For more information, see Opening a command or shell prompt (1003892).
If you are running Workstation 5.x or 6.x, run the installer program with the /c switch. For example:
If you are using Workstation 7.x, run the installer program with the /clean switch. For example:
If you do not have a copy of the installer, you can download it from our Download Center:
Note: Download the installer for the version you have installed, to ensure that the correct registry keys get removed. You do not need a license in order to download the program or run the installer, as you are only uninstalling the program.
If you are uninstalling something other than Workstation 5.x, 6.x., or 7.x, run the VMware registry cleaner script.
Note: The cleaner script, VMware_Install_Cleaner.zip, is attached to this article.
Run this script when you are logged on as a member of the Local Administrators group. The registry cleaner utility removes all registry keys used by the installers for: Workstation 3.1, Workstation 3.2, Workstation 4.x, GSX Server 2.x, GSX Server 3.0, GSX Server 3.1, ACE Manager 1.0, and ACE 1.0
Clean the Windows system manually. See the following section for more information.
Manually cleaning the Windows system
To manually clean up the Windows system, follow these steps.
Log on to the Windows host system as the Local Administrator or a member of the Local Administrators group.
Stop these services on the Windows host:
VMware Authentication Service
VMware Registration Service
VMware DHCP Service
VMware NAT Service
Uninstall the VMware network bridge adapter.
Click Start > Settings > Network and Dial-up Connections.
Right-click any network adapter icon and choose Properties.
Select VMware Bridge Protocol and click Uninstall.
Uninstall all VMware devices.
Right-click My Computer and select Manage.
Click Device Manager.
Double-click Network Adapters.
Right-click each adapter whose name begins with VMware and select Uninstall.
Choose Show hidden devices from the View menu.
Double-click Non-Plug and Play Drivers.
Right-click these devices and choose Uninstall.
VMware Network Application Interface
VMware Bridge Protocol
Delete these folders:
For all folders, if you have installed only one VMware product, you can delete the entire VMware folder listed. If you have installed other products, such as VirtualCenter Client, delete only the relevant subfolders for the product you are trying to remove.
On a GSX Server machine, remove the subfolders for VMware GSX Server, VMware Management Interface, VMware Scripting API, and either VMware Virtual Machine Console or VMware Remote Console.
The program folder in which the VMware product was installed
Note: If you have stored virtual machines in a folder under the program folder and want to save them, move them to a different folder before you delete the VMware program folder.
The default installation directory is:
32-bit versions of Windows: C:\Program Files\VMware\
64-bit versions of Windows: C:\PROGRAMFILES(X86)\VMware\
The application data folders
The default locations are:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\
C:\Documents and Settings\
The VMware program group folder from the start menu
The default location is:
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\VMware\
Windows Vista/7: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\VMware\
Delete the VMware shortcut icons from the desktop.
Delete these files:
Note: Your system may not have all of these files.
Delete the __vmware_user__ local user and the __vmware__ local group from the Windows system, if they exist.
Remove these registry keys:
VMware Player 2.x/3.x
ACE Manager 1.0.1
ACE Player 1.0
Reboot the Windows host system.