Windows 7: Managing Software Once It’s Installed (part 2) - Viewing and Managing Currently Running Programs

1/23/2011 9:14:05 AM

2. Reconfiguring, Repairing, or Uninstalling Software

Once you install software, you can manage its installation using the Programs and Features page in the Control Panel. More than any other version of Windows, Windows 7 takes advantage of the features of the installer program used with your software. This means you’ll have more configuration options than you otherwise would. For example, previously, most software allowed you to rerun Setup to uninstall the program but didn’t necessarily allow you to rerun Setup to change or repair the software. Windows 7 surfaces these features to make it easier to manage your software.

You can use the Programs and Features page to reconfigure, repair, or uninstall software by following these steps:

  1. Click Start→Control Panel→Uninstall a Program under Programs.

  2. In the Name list, click the program you want to work with and then select one of the following options on the toolbar:

    • Change, to modify the program’s configuration

    • Repair, to repair the program’s installation

    • Uninstall, to uninstall the program

    • Uninstall/Change, to uninstall or change a program with an older installer program

If the uninstall process fails, you may be able to resolve the problem simply by rerunning the Uninstaller for the program. Occasionally, you may need to clean up after a failed uninstall. This may require removing program files and deleting remnants of the program in the Windows registry. A program called the Windows Installer Cleanup utility can help you clean up the registry. You’ll find more information about the utility and the software for downloading online at the Microsoft Support website (

Windows 7 will allow you to remove only programs that were installed with Windows-compatible setup programs. Programs designed for Windows 2000 and earlier releases of Windows may have a separate Uninstall utility. Some older programs work by copying their data files to a program folder; you would then uninstall the program by deleting the related folder.

After you uninstall a program, check the Program Files folder and other locations for data left behind either inadvertently or by design. Before deleting any remaining data, you should determine whether the files contain important data or custom user settings that could be used again if you reinstall the program.

3. Viewing and Managing Currently Running Programs

Task Manager is a handy tool for working with your computer’s programs. You can start Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete and then selecting Start Task Manager.

You can use Task Manager to view and manage your computer’s currently running programs and processes. You can also use Task Manager to stop a program, which may be necessary, for instance, if a program is not responding and you want to quit the program.

As Figure 4 shows, Task Manager has two tabs for working with running programs:


Lists applications you are currently running by name and status, such as Running or Not Responding. To exit a program, click the program in the Task list and then click End Task.


Lists all programs and processes you are running on the computer by image name, your username, and resource usage. To stop a process, click the process and then click End Process.

Figure 4. Accessing processes in Task Manager

By default, Task Manager’s Processes tab shows only your running processes. To see running processes for all users, click “Show processes from all users” and provide consent or credentials if prompted. You’ll then see all processes running on the computer. You will also be able to right-click a process and select from an extended list of management options, including:

Open File Location

Opens the folder containing the executable file for the process in Windows Explorer

End Process

Stops the process

End Process Tree

Stops the process and all dependent processes

UAC Virtualization

Allows you to modify UAC virtualization settings as may be necessary for debugging

Create Dump File

Creates a memory dump file for the selected process


Opens the Properties dialog box for the executable file

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