Troubleshooting: Uninstall SDK components

This article applies to the Windows SDK for Windows Vista, the Windows SDK for Windows Vista Update, and the Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008 (a pre-release SDK at the time this post was written).


The Windows SDK installs both SDK-core components and “shared” components created by other teams at Microsoft as separate MSI files (see below for more on MSIs). When you select to uninstall the SDK through Add/Remove Programs (Programs and Features on Vista), most of the SDK will be uninstalled automatically.  However, a few components might need to be uninstalled separately in order to remove all SDK components.


·         Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit — the SDK core-component files

·         Microsoft FxCop 1.35 — .NET code analysis tool installs with the SDK and also with Visual Studio

·         Microsoft Document Explorer — document viewer tool installed by both Visual Studio and the SDK

·         Microsoft Visual C++ Compilers 2008 Standard Edition – compiler package installed by the SDK and/or Visual Studio 2008


You may have installed some of these applications with another product besides the SDK, such as Visual Studio or SQL Server. Removing shared components will make those components unavailable for other applications that may use them, so think twice before uninstalling them. For example, Visual Studio has a dependency on Document Explorer (DExplore.exe), the document viewer used to display Help and other documents. 


If you uninstall a component that other applications has a dependency upon, such as Document Explorer, it will not be available for that other application and you’ll receive an error message when you try to launch the app.  But don’t worry.  If you uninstall a component by mistake, you can easily run a Repair of the application that requires it: Control Panel, Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs on pre-Vista OSes), select the application that is not working correctly, click Repair at the top of the Programs and Features window.


What is an MSI file?  MSI files are Microsoft Windows Installers.  MSI files offer more flexibility when installing programs. For example, Windows installers allow you to repair your current installation instead of having to uninstall and reinstall a damaged program.

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