Reader Jim Hamm wrote to ask about a tip had read elsewhere:
Hi….I recently came across this tip on making hidden programs appear in Add/Remove Programs:
“This tip will help you remove annoying programs such as MSN Messenger that do not normally show up in the Add/Remove programs list. In order to do this, you need to open Windows Explorer and do the following:
1.) Navigate to C:\Windows\Inf
2.) Make a copy of Sysoc.inf for backup
3.) Open the original Sysoc.inf file and it will open in Notepad
4.) Press Ctrl-H and replace the string “,hide” with “,,” and save the file.
ERROR — this instruction should be:
replace the string “,hide,” with “,,”
— in other words, delete the word “hide” from that entry
After doing this you should be able to see all of the hidden programs in Add/Remove (located in the Control Panel).”
I haven’t implemented it yet, because I have a question…When I look at the Sysoc.inf file, on any line where the word ‘hide’ doesn’t appear, there are two ,, followed by a 7. If I replace ,hide with ,, then I’ll have three ,,, before the 7. I’m concerned what this might do to the file. Should I replace ,hide with only one ,?
Thanks for any help……Jim
Jim, I had not never heard of this before. When I searched for sysoc.inf on Google, I found a reference to a PC World article:
First, you are right to be wary about adding a comma – that is an obvious error in the instructions. Just by taking out the word “hide” you can see the items.
According to the article, this trick does not address programs in general, and I didn’t see how it could. It applies specifically to Windows components — items installed by Windows..
Before implementing any changes, I suggest that you search Google for the specific file names. Microsoft really may have an operational reason why some of these are hidden. Arbitrarily uninstalling programs from Windows can have unexpected results, and you may get to reinstall and start over. So, be careful what you delete. I also recommend changing the settings back to “hide” to save yourself from accidentally uninstalling one of them in the future.
After you implement these changes (assuming you do), when you get to Add/Remove Programs — and then go to the Add/Remove Windows Components selection on the left side of the window — this trick should show you some more things installed by Windows itself. This would let you remove some specific things.
You know, it might just be worth trying this tip — just to get rid of Windows Messenger. Just be aware that you might end up reinstalling Windows! Too many Microsoft programs seem to count on certain programs like Windows Messenger being there.
If you want to experiment with this trick, I suggest backing up your system first.