What controls the information that appears in Add/Remove Programs for installed programs

I stumbled across an interesting item posted a while back by Raymond Chen about the Add/Remove Programs control panel that I wanted to link to here.  He describes the algorithm used by the Add/Remove Programs control panel to populate some of the information for each installed application, including estimated size, last used date, frequency of use, etc.

A related article on MSDN describes how Windows Installer will automatically populate some of the registry values used by Add/Remove Programs during installation of an MSI-based setup package.  One of the items that is notably absent from the list of entries that Windows Installer populates is the DisplayIcon.  This is why you will occasionally see applications in Add/Remove Programs with a completely unrelated icon next to the product name.


Comments (4)
  1. Josh says:

    Is there any information available on how MSI calculates the EstimatedSize value? I have seen cases where this value is way off from the actually installed app size. The MSI SDK doesn’t seem to address how this is calculated.

  2. Hi Josh – I looked around for a while for that information before I posted this blog item but couldn’t find any details.  I have seen the same issue with this estimated size value being way off in some cases.  You may want to try to contact the folks who run the Windows Installer team blog and see if they’ll answer you there – http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/contact.aspx.

  3. Hi Aaron,

    All of my assorted icons are displaying correctly except for the Add/Remove Programs one.  It’s showing up as a standard "folder" icon.  Any idea on what I can do to resolve this problem?

    Robert W.

  4. Hi Robert – This issue is essentially only a cosmetic issue, it should not affect any functionality on your system.  The setup must set the value DisplayIcon in the entry it creates under HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall or else it will display essentially a random icon in Add/Remove Programs.

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