HOWTO remove dead items from Control Panel

Sometimes, it may occur discover a dead Control Panel item, after having uninstalled a program.

It’s something annoying, but it can be fixed manually.

Removing the dead item

To remove it, open the following registry location and look for the proper item:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ControlPanel\NameSpace

If you don’t find anything, give a look to this other registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ControlPanel\NameSpace

In these registry keys, you will find the list of the COM objects relative to each Control Panel item.

To remove the dead item, you shall:

  • get the dead one, selecting each item, and looking the Default value that is set with the item name.
  • delete the item key (usually “{<hex stuff here>}”).

Additional Investigation

If you find a dead Control Panel Item, it is possible that the uninstaller didn’t remove the related COM object reference and its DLL.

If you can leave with the knowledge, that something dead is still present into your system, you don’t need to go further.

Otherwise, if you want to track them down, then you have to save the value of the dead item key (ie save it and then remove it).

Select the following registry key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID

and use the ‘Find’ option to locate the COM object reference.

The first thing to verify, is that it is really something we can delete.

Usually in these registry key there are values about involved binaries (.DLL, .EXE).  If they are related to your poorly uninstalled program, then you can delete it safely.

In these cases, you can use the binary folder name, and/or the binary version information data by right clicking it by the File Explorer, and selecting ‘Details‘ from the ‘Properties‘ window.

Before deleting the key, the last step is to verify, if these files are still present in the system.

So the final steps are:

  • delete the related binary files (usually only one).
  • delete the related registry key

Personally I find useful to run a Registry cleaner program, that should fix every other dead COM references.