Renaming add remove programs in Window Vista was clearly a bad idea

Two and a half weeks ago I blogged about how the add remove programs icon was missing in Windows Vista. Via my blog stats it’s clear (at least to me) this was simply a bad idea. Here are the various searches people used to find the above page over just the past two days:

how do you remove programs with vista (
add or remove programs vista (
change or remove programs on Vista (
remove windows vista control panel icon (
add remove programs missing (
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Windows Vista remove programs (
Add or Remove Programs on Microsoft Vista (
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where is add remove icon in control panel in windows vista ? (
control panel + add remove programs + vista (
“windows vista” add and remove (
remove from control panel vista (
add/remove program start vista (
vista add or remove problems (
how to get to add or remove programs on windows vista (
how to add or remove programs on windows vista (
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add remove programs vista ultimate (
how to add or remove programs in vista (
add/remove program missing (
Add or Remove Programs icon (
add remove programs vista (
remove vista control panel icons (
where is add/remove programs in net vista (
add or remove programs vista (
add/remove in vista (

This is definitely going to hit me in family based IT support in the coming months/years. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Renaming add remove programs in Window Vista was clearly a bad idea

  1. Except that I’ve had people who’ve used windows for years suddenly forget how to uninstall software on XP.
    I think it matters a lot less for the low end users who NEVER freakin remember in the first place than those few of us who will adjust quick enough once we find the new spot.
    That said, changing the wording did create a lot of pointless angst, however short term. I can understand why they changed it to "remove a program" in the new control panel (who ever used it to install a program? No one.), but the old style control panel is just labeled "programs and features".
    Actually, scratch that. I know EXACTLY why they did it.
    Pre vista, I have never found the new style control panel to be useful – in fact, it has been a flat out impediment to getting anything done, so even before turning off that dang "click" noise, I change the control panel mode first (hey, gotta, to get to the sounds control applet, or it would be second). Now, the old style control panel doesn’t work wortha crud in Vista, mainly because they have deliberately sabotaged the heck out of it and added a bit more descriptive language with search capabilites to the new style.
    It is all about driving feature adoption. If you can’t make people use the new feature, and can’t stand the backlash of removing the old feature, just make the old feature too hard to use any more.

  2. This demonstrates how hard it is to do anything right for software manufacturers. Go to the control panel and start typing ‘add or remove programs’ in the search box. The item is first in the list after typing only the ‘a’. Searching the control panel works really great imho.

  3. Giel -> yes, they’ve managed to make the "new style" control panel, introduced in XP finally work, and all they had to do was add in search, a boat load of search terms and sabotage the heck out of the old control panel which just plain worked without the search.
    I’ve found that there are now a few things you just plain can’t do without using the new style and search thanks to all the vista changes.

  4. Giel,
    Looks to me like the search box ain’t cutting it. I got nearly a dozen more searches like what’s mentioned here today and my site certainly isn’t the only place to find this information. I’d say MS has a usability issue here that they failed to identify. FWIW, the thought of using the search box never even crossed my mind since the icon I’ve used for more than a decade should have been there IMO. One thing I neglected to mention was that a bunch of these queries where used more than once. The list includes 32 different searches over two days for just my blog and I imagine that’s just going to scale up as more Vista users come online.

  5. > "FWIW, the thought of using the search box never even crossed my mind"
    That’s the strange thing. They could of course have kept the old icon. But then again, this Vista search thing was part of the hype at Vista launch time, it’s on a lot of windows in Vista, it actually finds a lot of things…. And there’s of course the Windows Help to find a solution. It’s funny that despite all these efforts the users can’t solve this problem themselves and post a question on a forum (they can find that themselves for some reason 😉 and wait for two days until there’s an answer…….
    There’s a similar issue with the missing "Run" item from the Start menu. But the Start menu now also has a search box which finds Run easily (and also regedit, notepad, Delphi etc.)
    Not that I’m more clever: I’ve been browsing through the Windows Explorer in the Start menu for ten years until last year, when my brother showed me you can right-click the Start button and click Explore 🙂

  6. Correction: "I’ve been browsing through the Start menu looking for Windows Explorer for ten years until last year, …."

  7. Giel,
    What exactly would you type to find this icon in the Control Panel? I’ve pretty much exhausted all the things I thought would work from both the Start menu and the Control Panel and never found "Programs and Features". FWIW, I was able to find the topic in the online help by searching for "remove program". IOW, I really don’t think search helps at all with this problem.

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