Aug 19, 2005

Add/Remove Programs Window Will Not Open

Edit : August 2011 - This post is nearly 6 years old and it's probably the most popular post I've ever made. It's the number one Google result for this error.  Still getting dozens of hits per day. Over 100 comments! I'm glad I could give something back to my fellow IT pros.  (PS - why not throw me a bone and click an ad on my site, like one of the big banners up top? I might earn a penny or two. hehe  Thanks!)
---

Just ran into this crazy issue. One of my clients has a server running Windows 2000 Server. I needed to remove a program so of course I go to Control Panel and click on Add/Remove Programs. Nothing. It doesn't open. Try again. it still won't open. I then start noticing that each time I do this, it's spawning another instance of mshta.exe in my task manager. Strange. I've been troubleshooting for a few hours, trying various suggestions from around the net - reboot the server, register some files, apply some updates, put on my rally cap, etc.

But I've finally found the article that worked like a charm. It's a Microsoft KB article. Isn't it odd than you can search the KB and never find a helpful article but you'll find a website that links to the exact article that you WISH your KB search would have found???

Anyway, here is the link to the article.

What you need to do is just go to the command line and run these 3 commands to repair some registry entries.

regsvr32 mshtml.dll

regsvr32 shdocvw.dll -I

regsvr32 shell32.dll -I

This worked like a charm. My Add/Remove Program window opened right up.

120 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jason, similar to you I also am professionally in the same boat as you and also in regard to experiencing the issue. Thanks for your post. About a month after you posted I experienced the same issue and noticed the link with mshta.exe and also stumbled on the KB article from your post. Thanks alot.
ZM

Anonymous said...

Your a chanp, fixed first go!

sc said...

Thanks - you rock!! Been suffering this a while now - fixed

Anonymous said...

Tried this and it wouldnt work. I reinstalled IE 6.01 and this solved the problem.

Anonymous said...

Great, it worked in my first attempt

Anonymous said...

Thanks a mill bill...

you're dead right about not being able to find things while searching microsoft.com.

google, my toolbox.

cheers again,

Oscar (Ireland)

Anonymous said...

worked like a charm
u ar a life savior :)


thank's man

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Worked like charm.

Cesar Rosa said...

Your a Master, I got it fixed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you I have been looking for hours on how to fix it!!!! and no where else did I see this!!

Anonymous said...

Jason Hartman, Thank You very much, it was very helpful

Jeppe said...

On of the internets finest posts ever ;) thanks

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!

Anonymous said...

Saved me a ton of hassle, way to go!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Saved me time, Microsoft knowledge base search is useless.

Anonymous said...

You are a lifesaver my friend, was updating the anti-virus on our mail server when I encountered this. Happened after I installed IE6 SP1 which is a pre-requisite and have been scratching my head ever since. If I ever meet you I owe you a pint.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant - thanks so much!

Pascale1050 said...

Hi guys,
Experiencing the same problem I tried to apply the same solution but it doesn't help.
There is not srvreg32*.* file on my system.
Looking on the net for info about that file, I found a lot of info about this being a virus ???

I also had another problem (folders pane was grey in the Windows Explorer). This one was solved by changing a name to "shdocvw.ddl" with the Regedit program.
So, it seems both problems are linked.

Could I do the same as you told with the regedit program ?
Should I remove the entry mshtml.ddl and add shell32.ddl ? Where, how ?

Thankx

Pascaele

Anonymous said...

I've seen this problem for a couple of years and tried countless, useless and convoluted,
fixes before running across your solution. Thanks tons dude. Easy,
quick, and best of all it worked.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhh, Thanks much, so much better now!

Anonymous said...

You da man! Other fixes didn't. Your tip took care of the broken Add/Remove Programs quickly & easily. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

BRILLIANT! I was racking my brain looking at GP's and Local Security Policies (obviously, the former Network Admin left no documentation on the network!).

KUDOS to this post!

Anonymous said...

Nice!

Anonymous said...

Hi ,

i am trying to access my add reomove program option in control pannel . it is opening but not displaying any contents , enven i am not able to use my ie6 or , i am not able to print from Microsoft outlook express ,rest is ok

Anonymous said...

Your are a life saver!!

Great Job

Dominik0

Peter said...

Super!
Helped me a lot!
but very weird problem ?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, found the fix at last! Made the world of difference.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! You Da Man!

But did find you using google.

Anonymous said...

I gave up on this problem for a while and found your post this time around. Thank You! If only I had found this before manually removing syma**** system center. lol.

Thanks again

Anonymous said...

WOrked like a charm! Thanks for saving me a bunch of time going through futile searches with Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

jesus christ
i found the answer on someones blog before i found it at micro$haft, good work bro

Mark said...

Excellent post! Saved me a lot of fooling around trying to figure it out

Tim said...

Thanks for posting, Jason. Like Mark said...saved me a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful post on how to fix the Add/Remove Program. I searched hi and low on Microsoft and found nothing, yet it is right here from your site. Thanks haven for people like you.

Anonymous said...

I thought this would be the answer to my problem; tried it but did not work, unfortunately. I guess my problem is different. I can open the Add/Remove Programs window, but it is empty, does not show anyhting except one one line of text at the top reading:"Change or Remove programsAdd new programsAdd/Remove Windows components Set program Access and Defaults". If anyone knows what this is about, please help!

Anonymous said...

Great it worked ... Realy great

Anonymous said...

THANKS BUDDY!
THAT WAS GREAT!SAVED A LOT OF TIME AND HEARTACHE.

Anonymous said...

"I thought this would be the answer to my problem; tried it but did not work, unfortunately. I guess my problem is different. I can open the Add/Remove Programs window, but it is empty, does not show anyhting except one one line of text at the top reading:"Change or Remove programsAdd new programsAdd/Remove Windows components Set program Access and Defaults". If anyone knows what this is about, please help!"

You might try this link:http://support.microsoft.com
/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;329862

Anonymous said...

thanks alot!
It worked...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help!!! Your suggestion was right on the dime. Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

thanks dear for your great HELP. it really worked within seconds, whereas i was trying to find the solution since long time.

Kristina said...

OMG!! This helped a TON! We have been trying FOREVER to get this thing to work! AUG!! And here is your post to the KB topic!! OMG, I love you and I don't even know you hahaha...anyways...Thanks for your Help!!!

Kristina

Squozen said...

Chalk up another success, thanks a lot mate. :)

Anonymous said...

LEGEND!

Google strikes again!

Anonymous said...

Right On!!!
saved me hours and hair : )

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Right On!!!
saved me hours and hair : )

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Yet another Thanks a Lot!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot !! It helped me at the right time ....and i was able to impress my colleagues..thanks again

Anonymous said...

Your a god
thanks
Ricky

Anonymous said...

This is one of those issues that could have taken all day to track down if your post had not been easily googled. Result 5 minute fix Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

it worked for me...thank you from Jakarta :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. Saved lot of time.
-Kumar From India

Anonymous said...

sweet, i only typed the first command in Start>Run and it worked find for Windows XP. thanks !

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Great post.It's great when we can all work together to solve common problems.

prashant said...

I am facing the same issue on windows XP. Is there a similar fix ?

Anonymous said...

Cheers Dude.

Anonymous said...

nice

very nice!!!

saQ said...

THIS IS AWESOME!!! WORKED LIKE CHARM!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post it really help me out

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! Worked like a charm indeed. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This worked, I get the add/remove programs now! The text is missing (only icons and add/remove buttons) but i'll schedule a reinstall sometime.
I also experience the greyed out "folders" pane problem another user mentions here - wonder if they are related! I'll fix that another time as well.
THANKS!

Anonymous said...

All but 1 of the run lines succeeded .......but I can open the add/remove now. If your ever stuck in a snowdrift on a gravel road yor prob near my house I'll come and push you out!!!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for this - it worked like a champ on a Windows 2000 server.

Dune Tails said...

Have to say that this article is a stroke of genius. I tried it on a second machine though and found in the end that sometimes you have to install I.E 6 from scratch to fix it.

Anonymous said...

It's cool to occasionally get information like this which hits the nail on the head. Worked first time, thanks for sharing your expertise, much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

aww man, it didn't work for me. The only solution to this problem for me is to do a Windows Repair, but, the client has no time for that. I've tried all three lines, the second one doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

I tried the 3 commands and it worked like a charm as you said!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
Great advice,
Brian
SanDiego

Anonymous said...

Nice Article - Thanks Saved a lot of wasted time

Anonymous said...

Didn't work for me... :(

Anonymous said...

Had the "explorer folders pane grayed" problem. This fixed it also ! Thanks ! (x1000)

Anonymous said...

How many techs does it take to open the "add/remove Programs"

Just one if he knows what he's doing.. the entire IT dept when you don't have a clue

worked great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post about unable to access Add/Remove programs'.

It worked great. Now if understanding BSOD was any better lol.

Have a great day.
A Help Desk Tech.

Anonymous said...

did the trick on my 2000 server

rita dhankani said...

H Janson, thanks for sharing this. Do you think the same would work for 'windows XP'??
I have this invisible add/remove programs list since few months now. Help with some info!
Thanks a ton!

rita dhankani said...

ok, I tried the same commands for my 'windows XP'. It registered 2 of the 3. For the 1st command/regsvr32 mshtml.dll is says.....
"mshtml.dllwas loaded, but the DllRegisterServer entry point was not found. This file can not be registered."

I am new to all this and would be really grateful if anyone out here could help me with some step I could follow. :) Thanks.

Brad said...

Rita, I am having the same issue with Windows XP. Can anyone help?????

Anonymous said...

Yayyyy!! Worked for me...Thanks so much :-)

Anonymous said...

If this doesn't work, check the permissions on this file.
C:\WINNT\system32\mshta.exe

Anonymous said...

thanks man, this helped me

Anonymous said...

Thank you, my add/remove programs list is back now, I think I delete some reg entries, I was also install IE6.

Anonymous said...

Re-installing IE6 SPI worked after applying suggested KB registry changes, which were not immediately successful.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! I've been pulling my hair out over this issue. My bald head thanks you too :)

You da MAN!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, worked great on my Windows 2K Corporate system (still going strong despite this recent hiccup).

Anonymous said...

It worked. Thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello Jason,

I tried those three steps, but still am not able to open Add/Remove Tool window.

Is there anyone who can help me out?

Regards,
Suman

Anonymous said...

"i click on clear storage on my MDA, now it only showing the t-mobile logo, please how can i get my ms mobile back, becos i cant use my phone again"

please reply throw my email id is xtparry@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks, three years and this information lives on.

Anonymous said...

Muchas gracis solucione el fallo
Tank you very much

Anonymous said...

thanks, this really help me.

Ritesh said...

When i click on Add Remove Programs from control menu it display a error message as like "An unexpected error occurred.
Object doesn't support this property or method res://sp3res.dll/default.hta
Line 82" Give any solution

Anonymous said...

great post.. that really helped me a lot!!

Anonymous said...

Ditto, that worked brilliantly!

Anonymous said...

When i run the first one it dosent work it was loaded but not found...

SZIKOSZA said...

Thank you very very much. It helped a lot !!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. Worked fine for me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. It does work for xp.

Gaz in Bali said...

well Im not a techy type.. but i followed the directions.. heres what happend When tryin to register mshtml.dll I ot this message.
File mshtml was loades but the dll register server entry point was not found could not register file.

the other two regisered ok but only when I left off the suffix -1 why.. no idea...
however the problem persists I cannot open control panel/add remove programs.. I was attempting to do a repair install of MS Office 2003 Publisher whic for some reason will not start up.. it says I have low memory or hard disk full.. i reset the Paging file to 5 Gigs and I have 2 gig Ram.. 70% free..After a couple of goes, Publisher tries to open in Safe mode but fails, then give oen to check and repair.. which returns the error message msiexec.exe cannot be opened.
i checked i have it in Sys 32.. when I click on it a popup opens with all techy details inside.. the file size is 77kb Vsn Windows ® Installer. V 3.01.4001.5512
This file also exists in some windows service pack locations..

So I cant run Publisher, and I cant repair it.. Im using anoter Uninstall prg for any uninstalls I need to do.

Anyone??
garyplaton@yahoo preferred to
g mail addr

John said...

a charm:)

Cortney said...

wish i could find out how to do this for XP

Anonymous said...

So I am having this problem with the add/remove programs as well, but when I go to do this, my command box won't even come up :( what do I do?!

Anonymous said...

when i try to open add/remove programs it says this:

Cannot retrieve repository metadata (repomd.xml) for repository: rpmfusion-free-updates-testing. Please verify its path and try again

please help. I cant install any programs!!

Harshwardhan Kamdi said...

To All for whom this solution did not work here is the resolution:

This is happening due to a MS Patch KB828035. Uninstall this using registry.
Start>Run>Regedit: HKLM>Software>Microsoft>windows>current version>Uninstall.
Choose the uninstall string and uninstall it.

Start>Run>Appwiz.cpl and it opens like a charm.

I have not digged much into the details, microsoft has not mentioned any issues with this patch!

Hope this helps.

Harshwardhan Kamdi

Scott Bottomley said...

Here we are 5 years later and it still works! Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I was just about to go Medieval on one of our old servers with those symptoms when I stumbled across this little article. Can't help but say thanks to the author. After 5 years still works :)

Anonymous said...

I am having the same issue and two of the three run commands worked fine but the following command says it doesn't exist. (regsvr32 mshtml.dll) what can I do get this fixed since after running the other two it still doesn't populate. I will say it looks like it trying to populate as it says wait while it populates but it never does populate. UGGG

Anonymous said...

I am having the same issue and two of the three run commands worked fine but the following command says it doesn't exist. (regsvr32 mshtml.dll) what can I do get this fixed since after running the other two it still doesn't populate. I will say it looks like it trying to populate as it says wait while it populates but it never does populate. UGGG

Carl said...

Windows 2003 server - same problem, same solution. Brilliant!

Carl, UK

Michael T said...

Hello Jayson...
The first line of the three I Entered did not go in

mshtml.dll was loaded But The DillRegisterserver entry point was not found

This file can not be registered!!!

But The other two worked fine... :(

Anonymous said...

MS Patch KB828035
Having problem on an old XP laptop I'm trying to revive. Looked for this patch and did not find it. But, I had just uninstalled Micro Live Messanger and other Live components. So when I saw this comment, I tried Add/Remove again and it WORKED! On this computer getting rid of Live Messanger seemed to fix it!

Anonymous said...

Didn't work for my mom's PC :(

Anonymous said...

Thank you guys..it is fine now.

Jaha
Tanzania

Anonymous said...

Super. Thank you very much.

navee.. said...

It works superb.

Anonymous said...

ERROR

The module "mshtml.dll" was loaded but the entry-point DllRegisterServer was not found. Make sure that "mshtml.dll" is a valid DLL or OCX file and then try again.

:'( Please help
Email me @ kurzickkrozz@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks chap! Worked straight off. You're still number one on Google SERPS for this...

Anonymous said...

regsvr32 mshtml.dll did not work, but the other two links went through with no problem. But this still didn't fix the problem. I searched more online and found something else which asked me to insert my XP disc. Still running an error check, Crossing my fingers this fixes the problem. Thanks for the effort though. I'm sure it helped many others.

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