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Here is how to remove those space-hogging, good-for-nothing Windoze Update (also called "hotfix") backup files from your hard disk and from the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel, and still have Windoze Update recognize your updated system files.

I have tested these steps on my Windoze 2000/SP4 installation and I guess the same will work on WindozeXP but YMMV.

Safety first

You must be familiar with the use of the Registry Editor to perform these steps. Don't come crying to me if you accidentally deleted the whole HKLM tree! If in doubt, don't do it... or get the shareware automatic remover XP_Remove_Hotfix_Backup from Doug Knox.

Preliminary steps

  1. Find out which hotfix backup you wish to remove; jog down its "KB" or "Q" number
  2. Log in as administrator
  3. Start Windoze Exploder, select Tools - Folder Options - View - "Show hidden files and folders"
  4. Start Registry Editor; if you don't know how then you should not attempt these instructions

Altering your system

  1. With Windoze Exploder, go to your Windoze system folder, e.g. "C:\Windows" or "C:\WinNT"
  2. Move/delete the $NtUninstall<whatever-KB/Q>$ folder, e.g. "$NtUninstallKB820888$" for the KB820888 Windoze 2000 NTFS hotfix
  3. Move/delete the <whatever-KB/Q>.log file, e.g. KB820888.log
  4. With Registry Editor, go to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Updates\<component>\{sub-component\}<whatever-KB/Q> and delete the UninstallCommand value, e.g. HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Updates\Windows 2000\SP5\KB820888
  5. Goto HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall and remove the <whatever-KB/Q> key, and all the values contained within, e.g. remove this key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\KB820888
  6. Optionally remove the key and all the values cotained in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Management\ARPCache\<whatever-KB/Q>

Leave these keys alone


Go to the Windoze Update site and let it do a scan. It should not find anything amiss. Job done.


In future you may wish to download the hotfixes and install them using the "/n" (or "/nobackup") switch, but updating this way means you will lose your insurance against Microsloth stuff-ups.


Microsoft's "Hotfix Installation and Deployment Guide"

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Copyright © 2004 Alvian Tam.