SHL: Add/Remove Programs or Programs & Features Appplet


Description:  When viewing the Add\Remove Programs applet, you may see incorrect information or the applet may not display at all. This may be caused by missing files, corrupt files, and or incorrect permissions.


Scoping the Issue:  The first thing to determine is if the Add\Remove Programs applet displays at all or if the concern is with a single application.  If the applet does not display, check to see if you can run appwiz.cpl to launch it.  Determine if the rundll32.exe process is running when doing so.

The following are some things to try in correcting this behavior:

  • Run regsvr32 on %systemroot%system32\Mshtml.dll and Appwiz.cpl
  • If possible, try to repair Internet Explorer to re-register its core files
  • Run “SFC /purgecache” and then “SFC /scannow”
  • Check To verify if DCOM is configured correctly.  Verify Default properties and COM+ security settings in DCOMCNFG.EXE with that of the settings from a working machine.  To do this, launch DCOMCNFG.EXE, expand Component Services, Computers, and then right click and select Properties.


Data Gathering:  In all instances, collecting either MPS Reports with the General, Internet and Networking, Business Networks and Server Components diagnostics, or a Performance-oriented MSDT manifest must be done. 

  • Collect a Process Monitor log while replicating the issue. Check for Access Denied errors or errors regarding missing files.
  • Generate a user dump of the rundll32.exe process responsible for launching appwiz.cpl.  You can do this on Windows Vista and later machines via Task Manager, by right-clicking on the instance of RUNDLL32.EXE and selecting the “Create Dump File” option.  You can also use ADPLUS.VBS – the syntax is as follows: cscript adplus.vbs -hang -p <PID#> (where PID is the process ID for the instance of rundll32.exe)
  • If the concern is incorrect programs listed in the applet, then the following registry key should be collected for examination: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall


Additional Resources: