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Cleaning up after an incomplete deinstallation on a Windows host


  • Uninstalling a VMware product from a Windows host fails.
  • Uninstalling a VMware product from a Windows host appears successful, but you cannot reinstall it on the same host.
  • Installing a VMware product produces an error or fails on a Windows host that previously had a VMware product installed.
  • When attempting to install or uninstall the VMware View client, you see errors similar to:

    • Error 28030.The installer failed to install the USB driver. To ensure a successful installation, please restart your machine and relaunch this installer.
    • Error 28053.A DLL failed to register. Please see the most recent %TEMP%\vminst*.log file for details.
    • Error 1706.No valid source could be found for product VMware View Client. The Windows Installer cannot continue.


This article describes the procedures for cleaning up after an incomplete deinstallation of various VMware products.

Choose the scenario that best describes your situation:
  • If you have never installed a VMware product previously, but are having installation trouble, see Troubleshooting a VMware hosted product that does not install (1005027).
  • If you are seeing an MSI error, see Troubleshooting an MSI error during a VMware product or Tools installation (1031302).
  • If you have a Linux host, see Manually uninstalling VMware Workstation from Linux hosts (38).
Note to ACE users: This article includes information on cleaning up an incomplete deinstallation of VMware ACE Manager on an administrator's computer, and incomplete deinstallation of ACE 2.x packages on end user computers. For more information on cleaning up after an incomplete deinstallation of a VMware ACE 1.x package on an end user computer, see Cleaning up after an incomplete VMware ACE 1.x uninstallation on a Windows host (1526).


VMware products might not install on Windows hosts if the installer detects certain other VMware products on the computer. These products might be incorrectly detected, even if the products have already been removed. This can occur if registry keys that should be removed during the deinstallation of a product are left behind. Registry keys can be left behind if the host computer hangs or resets while you are uninstalling the previous product. When the installer finds these registry keys, it interprets their presence as an indication that the previous product is still installed.


To troubleshoot an incomplete deinstallation, work through the Prerequisite steps, then proceed to the Troubleshooting steps. Do not skip the Prerequisite steps.

Prerequisite steps

Before performing the Troubleshooting steps:

  1. Make sure that you are logged into the Windows host as a local administrator. A Domain Administrator does not necessarily have the correct permissions on components the installer must access.

    For more information, see:
    • Windows XP and Vista: Microsoft article User accounts: frequently asked questions
    • Windows 7: Microsoft article How do I log on as an administrator?

      Note: The preceding links were correct as of August 20, 2012. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

  2. Disable firewalls and antivirus programs on protected systems. If your security policy allows this, disable any firewall and antivirus software you have installed. Some security programs can interfere with the installation process. You can do this by using the Windows System Configuration (msconfig) utility to disable all non-Microsoft startup utilities. For more information, see Using the Windows System Configuration utility (1004010). Afterward, restart Windows so that only the enabled Microsoft services are running.

Troubleshooting steps

Note: After completing each step, reboot your Windows host.

  1. Uninstall the program using Add/Remove Programs > Remove. If the VMware product is still listed in Add/Remove Programs, try rebooting your computer and then uninstalling the VMware product:

    1. Reboot the Windows host.
    2. Go to Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs.
    3. Click the VMware product from the list of programs.
    4. Click Remove.
    5. When the uninstallation is complete, reboot the Windows host again.

  2. Depending on what you are uninstalling, perform one of these options:

    • If you are uninstalling Workstation 5.x, 6.x., 7.x, 8.x, or 9.x, use the Workstation uninstaller.

      While you are logged on as a member of the Local Administrators group, run the installer program from a command prompt with a special switch to automatically remove the MSI registration information for VMware Workstation. For more information, see Opening a command or shell prompt (1003892).

      • If you are running Workstation 5.x or 6.x, run the installer program with the /c switch. For example:

        VMware-workstation-5.0.0-13124.exe /c

      • If you are using Workstation 7.x, 8.x, or 9.x, run the installer program with the /clean switch. For example:

        VMware-workstation-full-7.1.2-301548.exe /clean

        If you do not have a copy of the installer, you can download it from the VMware Download Center:

        • Workstation 5.x
        • Workstation 6.x
        • Workstation 7.x
        • Workstation 8.x
        • Workstation 9.x

        Note: Download the installer for the version you have installed to ensure that the correct registry keys are removed. You do not need a license to download the program or run the installer because you are only uninstalling the program.

    • If you are uninstalling something other than Workstation 5.x, 6.x., 7.x, 8.x, or 9.x run the VMware registry cleaner script.

      • Before making any registry modifications, ensure that you have a current and valid backup of the registry and the virtual machine. For more information on backing up and restoring the registry, see the Microsoft article 136393.
      • The cleaner script, VMware_Install_Cleaner.zip, is attached to this article.

      Run this script when you are logged in as a member of the Local Administrators group. The registry cleaner utility removes all registry keys used by the installers for Workstation 3.1, Workstation 3.2, Workstation 4.x, GSX Server 2.x, GSX Server 3.0, GSX Server 3.1, ACE Manager 1.0, and ACE 1.0.

  3. Clean the Windows system manually. For more information, see the next section.

Manually cleaning a Windows system

To manually clean up a Windows system, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the Windows host system as the Local Administrator or a member of the Local Administrators group.

  2. Stop these services on the Windows host:
    • VMware Authentication Service
    • VMware Registration Service
    • VMware DHCP Service
    • VMware NAT Service
    • VMware USB Arbitration Service
    • VMware Workstation Server (Workstation 8.x and 9.x)

  3. Uninstall the VMware network bridge adapter:
    1. Click Start > Settings > Network and Dial-up Connections.
    2. Right-click any network adapter icon and select Properties.
    3. Select VMware Bridge Protocol and click Uninstall.

  4. Uninstall all VMware devices:
    1. Right-click My Computer and select Manage.
    2. Click Device Manager.
    3. Double-click Network Adapters.
    4. Right-click each adapter whose name begins with VMware and select Uninstall.
    5. Choose Show hidden devices from the View menu.
    6. Double-click Non-Plug and Play Drivers.
    7. Right-click these devices and choose Uninstall:
      • hcmon
      • VMware Network Application Interface
      • VMparport
      • vmx86
      • VMware Bridge Protocol

  5. Delete these folders:

    • For all folders, if you have installed only one VMware product, you can delete the entire VMware folder listed. If you have installed other products, such as VirtualCenter Client, delete only the relevant subfolders for the product you are trying to remove.
    • On a GSX Server machine, remove the subfolders for VMware GSX Server, VMware Management Interface, VMware Scripting API, and either VMware Virtual Machine Console or VMware Remote Console.

    1. The program folder in which the VMware product was installed.

      Note: If you have stored virtual machines in a folder under the program folder and want to save them, move them to a different folder before you delete the VMware program folder.

      The default installation directory is:
      • 32-bit versions of Windows: C:\Program Files\VMware\
      • 64-bit versions of Windows: C:\Program File (X86)\VMware\

    2. The application data folders.

      The default locations are: 

      • Windows XP:
        • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\
        • C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\VMware\

      • Windows Vista/7:
        • C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\VMware\
        • C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\VMware\

    3. The VMware program group folder from the start menu.

      The default location is:
      • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\VMware\
      • Windows Vista/7: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\VMware\

  6. Delete the VMware shortcut icons from the desktop.

  7. Delete these files:

    Note: Your system may not have all of these files.

    • C:\Windows\system32\vmnat.exe
    • C:\Windows\system32\vmnetbridge.exe
    • C:\Windows\system32\VMNetDHCP.exe
    • C:\Windows\system32\vmnetdhcp.leases
    • C:\Windows\system32\vmxw2ksetup.dll
    • C:\Windows\system32\vnetprobe.exe
    • C:\Windows\system32\vnetprobelib.dll
    • C:\Windows\system32\vnetinst.dll
    • C:\Windows\system32\vnetlib.dll
    • C:\Windows\system32\vnetlib.exe
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmnet.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmnetx.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\VMparport.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmx86.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmnetadapter.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmnetbridge.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmnetuserif.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\hcmon.sys
    • C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vmusb.sys

  8. Delete the __vmware_user__ local user and the __vmware__ local group from the Windows system, if they exist.

  9. Remove these registry keys:

    Note: Before making any registry modifications, ensure that you have a current and valid backup of the registry and the virtual machine. For more information on backing up and restoring the registry, see the Microsoft article 136393.

    • Workstation 4.5/5.0/5.5
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\317A1D89C83432A4A86B143BC7A4D274
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\317A1D89C83432A4A86B143BC7A4D274
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features\317A1D89C83432A4A86B143BC7A4D274
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\317A1D89C83432A4A86B143BC7A4D274
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\317A1D89C83432A4A86B143BC7A4D274
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{98D1A713-438C-4A23-8AB6-41B37C4A2D47}
    • Workstation 6.x/7.x
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\2BC5FF3A53BF85647815E9EDD1563BAA
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\2BC5FF3A53BF85647815E9EDD1563BAA
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features\2BC5FF3A53BF85647815E9EDD1563BAA
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\2BC5FF3A53BF85647815E9EDD1563BAA
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\7A26F0EA2A1AF704F9C48439B99DDAD8
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\7A79579133DA8984D9E8376086814B46
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\UpgradeCodes\3F935F414A4C79542AD9C8D157A3CC39
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\2BC5FF3A53BF85647815E9EDD1563BAA
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{A3FF5CB2-FB35-4658-8751-9EDE1D65B3AA}

    • Workstation 8.x/9.x
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\A57F49D06AE015943BFA1B54AFE9506C
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\A57F49D06AE015943BFA1B54AFE9506C
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\UpgradeCodes\3F935F414A4C79542AD9C8D157A3CC39
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{0D94F75A-0EA6-4951-B3AF-B145FA9E05C6}
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\VMware, Inc.\VMware Workstation
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\VMware, Inc.\Installer\VMware Workstation
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Applications\vmware.exe

    • VMware Player 2.x/3.x/4.x/5.x
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\AE11A35A5900F39468AF1AE5A8684A50
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\AE11A35A5900F39468AF1AE5A8684A50
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features\AE11A35A5900F39468AF1AE5A8684A50
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\AE11A35A5900F39468AF1AE5A8684A50
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\7A26F0EA2A1AF704F9C48439B99DDAD8
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\7A79579133DA8984D9E8376086814B46
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\AE11A35A5900F39468AF1AE5A8684A50
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{A53A11EA-0095-493F-86FA-A15E8A86A405}
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\UpgradeCodes\3F935F414A4C79542AD9C8D157A3CC39

    • ACE Manager 1.0.1
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\BC5E922F5258EE74BAC9B3AA1D6E0B1B
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\BC5E922F5258EE74BAC9B3AA1D6E0B1B
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features\BC5E922F5258EE74BAC9B3AA1D6E0B1B
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\BC5E922F5258EE74BAC9B3AA1D6E0B1B
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\BC5E922F5258EE74BAC9B3AA1D6E0B1B
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{F229E5CB-8525-47EE-AB9C-3BAAD1E6B0B1}

    • ACE Player 1.0
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\2C06509C057477E4FBEAC7E383CDFF3D
      • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\2C06509C057477E4FBEAC7E383CDFF3D
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features\2C06509C057477E4FBEAC7E383CDFF3D
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\2C06509C057477E4FBEAC7E383CDFF3D
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\2C06509C057477E4FBEAC7E383CDFF3D
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{C90560C2-4750-4E77-BFAE-7C3E38DCFFD3}

  10. Reboot the Windows host system.

Based on VMware KB 1308

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