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How to Uninstall Programs while in Windows Safe mode

If Windows keeps shutting down or won't start properly in normal mode, there may be a new but troubling program that was just installed or a long-existing program that has been compromised. While starting (booting) Windows in normal mode, Windows may provide you with an error alert to let you know which program may be causing the problem. For example, it may be the APC Personal Powerchute program, and the error message may be something like, “Can't find apcsystray.exe, system is shutting down.”

First try disabling the autostart of certain troubled services on Windows boot/startup. To do so, first start Windows in “safe mode with networking” by tapping the F8 during startup and making the appropriate selection to “Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking.” While in Safe Mode, at Windows search or run text box, type “msconfig” (without the “” quotes) and enter. Then, find the service that may be causing the problem and uncheck the checkbox for that service, and click apply. Restart Windows in normal mode. If that does not fix the problem, it may be necessary to uninstall the troubling program in order to allow Windows to start normally. First return to safe mode and re-enable the services for which startup was disabled. Restart in normal mode. When you restart in normal mode and Windows shuts down before you can uninstall the troubling program.

Maybe try uninstalling the troubling program while in safe mode or while in safe mode with networking.

The Windows Installer Service (“msiserver”) allows us to install and uninstall application software (add or remove programs). Understand that, by default, the Windows Installer service (“msiserver”) does not start while Windows is in Safe Mode or in Safe Mode with Networking. Also know that, by default, safe mode does not allow us to start the msiservice service while in Safe Mode or while in Safe Mode with Networking. Here is how to create and start the msiservice while in Safe Mode with Networking, or while in Safe Mode (without networking).

First, start Windows in “Safe Mode with Networking” Reminder to continuously tap F8 during Windows boot startup and make the selection to start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking.

Then, at the run/search box open a Command Prompt as Administrator (run “cmd.exe” with administrative privileges)

Next, while in Safe Mode with Networking, type

REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Service” 

and press enter.

NOTE: If, however, you can only startup Windows in Safe Mode (without networking), then instead type

REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Service”

and press enter.

Finally, at the command prompt, type

net start msiserver

and press enter.

You should now be able to Uninstall with Microsoft installer / msinstaller from Safe Mode, Add or Remove Programs - Microsoft Installer, Control Panel.

Attribution: The method of creating and starting the Microsoft Installer Service in Safe Mode was derived from an article authored By Dustin and Posted at on October 3, 2016.

See Dustin's Article:

uninstall_programs_windows_safe_mode.txt · Last modified: 2023/04/24 13:36 by wikiadmin