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Uninstalling Applications in Windows CE


Applies To

  • Windows CE 2.0, 2.0 SP1
  • Windows CE for Handheld PC Professional
  • Windows CE for HPC2000


Windows CE allows software vendors to add Uninstall routines to their software. Not all Windows CE software have uninstall options. As a general rule, Operating System updates, Single .exe files and applications that you install from the device itself (single .cab files) do not have Uninstallers. This article discusses the methods by which Software can be removed safely from Windows CE based devices.



Option 1: The CE Approach...

If a software program has a Uninstall routine, it will appear as a link from the Remove Programs applet in the Windows CE Control Panel


To access the Remove Programs applet

Control Panel

Or you can use the Keyboard Shortcut

Press Windows Key + C

This will launch the "Control Panel"

For more keyboard shortcuts please see the Windows CE 2 Keyboard Shortcuts page


Double Tap the 'Remove Programs' Icon to launch the applet.

Remove Programs


Scroll the Programs list until you find the application that you want to uninstall. Highlight it by single tapping the name.

Select program

Click the 'Remove' button to begin the Uninstall procedure
NB: In this example, 'Microsoft Handheld PC 2.0 SP 1' is an example of a non-removable utility.


The following dialogue box will appear:

Are you sure?

Tap 'Yes' to remove the chosen program or 'No' to cancel and return the the Remove Programs applet.




Option 2: On the Host...ActiveSync

If not already running, start Microsoft ActiveSync

Connect your H/PC to the Host PC system via your chosen connection method

Open ActiveSync and wait until the automatic Profile synchronisation / Data sync has completed.

From the Tools menu select Add/Remove Programs... (As shown)




NB: This example uses ActiveSync 3.5. The process is the same in ActiveSync 3.0 and 3.1. The process may differ slightly using Windows CE Services 2.x.




Wait while ActiveSync contacts your H/PC and downloads a list of the software that you have installed.

Detecting device data

During the search the profile also checks the local disk of the host PC to see if there are any Software utilities present to Automatically Install or to give the option to install (See Installing on CE 2.0 guide, coming soon).

Depending on your connection speed, this may take a few moments to complete

NB: Before selecting 'Add/Remove Programs...' from the Tools Menu allow ActiveSync to finish its automatic tasks to avoid overloading the connection and potentially loosing data




Program listThis is the Add/ Remove Programs application

.It is similar to the Windows Components installer that comes with Windows 95 / 98 and Millennium. A list of the applications installed, or available to install are presented here. Along with the file size on the H/PC.

To uninstall an application from the H/PC:

  1. Remove the Tick from the Box by the application you wish to remove

  2. Click the 'OK' button when you are ready to uninstall

NB: The Installation files are left on the Host PC so that you can easily reinstall

To uninstall an application from the H/PC and the Host PC:

  1. Select the name of the application you wish to remove

  2. Click the Remove button

  3. Confirm Application removal (See below)
    Are you sure?

If the Program you are trying to uninstall has a dimmed tick box, then you must remove the application both from the H/PC and from the Host PC

Click 'OK' to complete the uninstallation process