Manually remove ArcGIS products from a system

Last Published: April 25, 2020


** Internal Publish Only!! **
The steps in this article are for Esri Support Implementation Analysts and should not be published.
The information in this article pertains to the manual uninstall and reinstall of ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Workstation, or both.There are some instances where using the standard msiexec installation tool does not remove ArcGIS software from a system. The following article is intended as a final resort to be used after exhausting attempts to remove ArcGIS software via Add/Remove Programs and running the 'msiexec /x' command line tool.


It is very important to analyze the uninstall problem on the user's machine before following the steps below. This helps in situations where the problem can be fixed in a future release or where the problem is due to a third-party product and needs to be documented.

When installing Esri products on an existing system, it is necessary to remove all instances of older applications from that system.

Before manually uninstalling ArcGIS, it is required to try the following options in this order:

1) In the Control Panel, go to Add/Remove Programs, highlight ArcGIS Desktop and click the Change/Remove button. In the ArcGIS Setup dialog box, select Remove. If this fails, note the error message and/or create a screenshot of the error received.
2) In the Add/Remove Programs dialog box, highlight ArcGIS Desktop and click the Change/Remove button. In the ArcGIS Setup dialog box, select Repair, click Next and follow the remaining steps in the setup wizard. If the repair is successful, try step 1 again. If the repair option returns the same error, continue to step 3.
3) Run the uninstall from the command line with the log option. The command for this is:

msiexec /x <path to setup.msi on CD> /qn /L*v C:\ArcGISUninstall.log

E-mail the following items to your group lead and the Senior Support Technical Lead, as well as to the development team for further review and suggestions:
• the log file
• all the steps tried
• any information from the user about things done to the system before this issue occurred
• any information that helps to understand the situation the user is experiencing
to your group lead and the Senior Support Technical Lead, as well as to the Development team for further review and further suggestions.
Only consider assisting the user with manually uninstalling ArcGIS after the possible causes for the uninstallation problem are reviewed and after trying any further suggestions from the leads.

To manually uninstall ArcGIS Desktop/ArcGIS Workstation, proceed carefully through the following steps below.
Before making any registry modifications, click on the link 'How To Modify the Windows Registry' in the Related Information and read this important information from Microsoft.

  1. Close all applications.
  2. Unregister all custom commands that are installed.
  3. Uninstall all custom extensions that are installed.
  4. Open Windows Explorer and delete the following folders:
    C:\Documents and Settings | Users\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\ArcGIS\*
    C:\Documents and Settings | Users\All Users\Application Data\FlexNet\*
    C:\Documents and Settings | Users\All Users\Application Data\ESRI\*
    C:\Documents and Settings | Users\<USERNAME>\Local Settings\Application Data\ESRI\*
    C:\Program Files <(x86)>\Common Files\ESRI\*
    C:\Program Files <(x86)>\Common Files\ArcGIS\*
    C:\Program Files <(x86)>\Leica Geosystems\*
  5. Remove Installer Registry Keys.
    A. Click Start > Run and type 'regedit' to open the Registry Editor.
    B. Delete the following Registry keys:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Earth Resource Mapping\*
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\ (CAUTION: Search and delete ONLY parent folders that contain ESRI, Esri, or ArcGIS)
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\ (CAUTION: Search and delete ONLY parent folders that contain ESRI, Esri, or ArcGIS)
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\ArcGIS License Manager\*
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\FLEXnet Licensing Service\*

    C. Close the Registry Editor.

Article ID:000011151

  • ArcMap

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Related Information

Discover more on this topic