KB: Perform a thorough uninstall manually in the event of uninstaller failing

Created: March 25, 2021 | Updated: February 28, 2024

[Why] Sometimes the operating system doesn't fully uninstall a software program, possibly due to lack of administrator privilege [What] If the uninstaller through Windows 'Add or remove programs' does not execute, manual removal of folders and registries may be needed as a last resort. [How] Try a clean boot of the PC before attempting uninstallation, use a Windows user account that has (full) administrator privileges, go to Windows Control Panel ► Administrative Tools ► Event Viewer - check the Summary of Administrative Events section for items in the last hour, try Troubleshooter from Microsoft at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17588/windows-fix-problems-that-block-programs-being-installed-or-removed , or try a manual removal by deleting folders and registry entries.

Starting in Version: 18.0
Up to Version: Current

Solution Details

Here are detailed instructions on how to perform a thorough uninstall.

If you want to back up the Altium Designer preferences before the uninstall:
-Open the Preferences panel. 
-Press the Save... button, at the bottom left of the dialog box. 
-Choose a location & file name for the backup file, and save it. 
(If required, your preferences can be restored from this file later by using the Load button..., found in the same dialog. )
*** If you connect to a private license server, please record that information (Server name and port) before continuing. (This information can be found by clicking on the Setup private license server control near the bottom of the License Management page) ***
*** If you are using the NEXUS client, record your server information so you can log in again when you re-start. ***
 
If you have more than one version of Altium installed, you will need to determine the GUID for the version you want to uninstall.  See the note below.  If you only have one version or want to uninstall them all, don't worry about the GUID.

Before performing an uninstall, make sure you don't have any of the files you created stored in any of these paths:

C:\Program Files (x86 - for AD17 & older)\Altium\AD(version)
C:\ProgramData\Altium\Altium Designer{specific version GUID} (two folders) (may have to view hidden files to see the ProgramData folder)
C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Altium\Altium Designer{specific version GUID}
C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\Altium Designer{specific version GUID}
C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Altium\AD??

From the Windows Start button, choose Control Panel ► Add or Remove Programs, and choose to remove Altium Designer with the "Remove Completely" option checked. 


 
If Windows has trouble uninstalling Altium,
  • Try a clean boot of the PC before attempting uninstallation.
  • Use a Windows user account that has (full) administrator privileges.
  • Go to Windows Control Panel ► Administrative Tools ► Event Viewer - check the Summary of Administrative Events section for items in the last hour, i.e. recent events, there might be an indicator there of what may be causing an issue.
  • See Microsoft - Fix problems that block programs from being installed or removed.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17588/windows-fix-problems-that-block-programs-being-installed-or-removed
  • Try a manual removal by deleting folders and registry entries. (This is also how you can check to be sure the uninstall did everything it should.)
Remove these folders:
C:\Program Files (x86 - for AD17 & older)\Altium\AD(version)
C:\ProgramData\Altium\Altium Designer{specific version GUID} (two folders) (may have to view hidden files to see the ProgramData folder)
C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Altium\Altium Designer{specific version GUID}
C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\Altium Designer{specific version GUID}
C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Altium\AD?? (save any user created files first)
 
Then finally in registry editor (Start ► regedit), delete:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER >> Software >> Altium>>Altium Designer{specific version GUID}.
Other Registry keys you should delete if they exist:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\Start Menu\Programs\Altium
HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-149779583-799757147-1568867282-45119\Software\Altium
(The ID here is only an example-ID.)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Altium (for 32bit operation system)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Altium (for 64bit operation system)
 
***Note:  If you have more than one version of Altium installed, you will need to determine the GUID (Global Unique IDentifier) for the version you want to uninstall.  Here are three ways:
  1. Edit C:\Program Files\Altium\[Version]\System\PrefFolder.ini  (look for UniqueID - near the bottom.)
  2. Look at Preferences ► Data Management ► Backup ► path (it's the long number in the {} brackets.  (This assumes you can still run Altium.)  If you've changed the default path, you can also check Preferences Draftsman Templates, or use the "Set to Defaults" button. 
  3. Delete all your security folders and after re-launching the program, see which one comes back:
    1. In Altium Designer release any licenses 
    2. Close Altium Designer 
    3. browse to C:\ProgramData\Altium\     (may have to view hidden files to see the ProgramData folder)
    4. Delete *_Security folder(s)
    5. Restart Altium Designer
    6. See which one comes back
 
 
Here's documentation with images:
https://www.altium.com/documentation/altium-designer/altium-designer-system-installation-licensing-management#uninstalling
 
The uninstaller for AD10, 12, & 13 can be found here:
https://techdocs.altium.com/display/ALEG/Legacy+Downloads

 
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