Removing Crufty Scrivner Version Entries from Apps and Features (Win10, v1909 b18363.1257+)

Exhaustive research (here and via the google) provided no specific solution to the problem of crufty, uninstallable, unremovable Scrivner entries in Apps & Features. This is most probably due to your ignoring (or forgetting) any warnings to uninstall previous versions before incrementing your installation. So I found my own working solution.

tldr; Registry Entry Location:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Scrivener w.x.y.z

:exclamation: CAVEAT LECTOR: If you are not familiar and comfortable editing the Windows Registry then read on and only assertively pursue Option 1 below.


If you have installed a version and subsequently upgraded it without uninstalling it first, you may discover that the previous version’s entry in “Apps and Features” may linger. You may discover it is impossible to “Uninstall” or “Modify” these entries (either because the affective buttons are unavailable or the actions result in catastrophic failure.

The “proper” way to resolve this is to uninstall the “update” and reinstall the problematic program version that lingers as cruft.

Unfortunately, you may discover that you have already deleted the crufty version and you are unable to reacquire the needed version from L&L. You are then forced into one of two possible solution paths:

  1. You can appeal to L&L directly and ask them to provide you with the install binary for the problem version, or
  2. You can remove the crufty version entries directly with RegEdit.

Option 1: I don’t know how willing L&L is likely to be to provide you with a very specific historical version. I have yet to find a safe, public source of such historical files with legitimate provenance – that is, I don’t think L&L provides such without direct outreach and willing, manual action).

Option 2: [RISKY for those unfamiliar with RegEdit] You may need to use RegEdit to remove the crufty entries from the registry. CAUTION: It is critical that you backup your registry and/or export any keys you intend to modify/delete.

The current location for these keys (different versions of windows locates these entries in different places) for Win10 v1909 b18363.1257+ (determinable with the “winver” command) is:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Scrivener w.x.y.z

The key entries appear to be numbered LESS THAN the crufty version depending on “from which” and “to which” version you upgraded. That is, if you have a crufty entry that is 2.9.0.11, then the key is likely to be 2.9.0.12+.

On my system, the crufty key contains three sub-keys: (Default), displayName, displayVersion.

Removing (deleting) the Scrivner w.x.y.z key (which will also eliminate the subkeys) will immediately affect Apps & Features (removing the crufty entry). If the removal is not immediately apparent, close Apps & Features and reopen the settings window.

It is not my intention to provide a step by step guide for the Windows novice user. Editing the Registry is not for novices and there can be unintended pin-action from manually editing the Registry. To be sure, I know there are other relevant keys associated with these crufty Apps & Features entries and I’m not enumerating them all.

This location/change is the minimum necessary to dissolve the crufty items displayed in Apps & Features.

Requested Potential Future Solution: It would be helpful and brand uplifting if L&L would provide a Scrivner Cleaner binary that would search out and eliminate all crufty registry entries (to include, beyond the ones I mention above, the crufty binary references as well).

Certainly, if others have come up with a solution, please share. If a similar or alternative solution has been published previously, please help make the solution more obvious on the site and link it.

You don’t need to go through all of this manual registry cleaning rigamarole.

Uninstall the current version of Scrivener (save your settings first.)

Now, go to uninstall one of the earlier entries. Windows will inform you that it seems to be removed and ask if you want to remove the entry. Agree.

Repeat until all the entries are gone.

Re-install the latest version.

Did you even read/understand the post before responding? You suggest a solution to a different problem. In a perfect world; there would be no problem; the uninstall option would be 1) available, 2) operative, and 3) effective. Thus, let me quote myself for emphasis and provide an opportunity for better comprehension…

If the option to uninstall were available, operative, and effective, there would be no need for “rigamarole” because there would not be a problem. :unamused:

I use the word crufty for a reason.

These crufty entries exist for a reason and the reason is cruft. Despite user warnings to uninstall before advancing versions, the proximate cause for the problem is L&L practice. But for the cruft, the problem would not exist. Since evidence suggests cruft does exist and there is no conventional solution, “rigamarole” is indeed potentially required.

Yes, I did. I’ve been harping on this issue since the first Windows beta tests – the installer routine has always been crap and doesn’t cleanly update and remove lingering traces.

If you can’t remove these lingering entries without breaking out RegEdit, there is something else wrong with your system. Even Windows 7 would help you clean up these entries automatically. If you can’t remove them with the existing system tools, then you likely have a corrupt user profile, and that’s a much bigger problem.

RegEdit isn’t going to save you from a corrupt profile – it’s more likely to make it worse. Worrying about extra Scrivener entries in installed programs list under those conditions is like worrying about the potential scar you’re going to have from that quad-bypass heart surgery you need to have. And telling people how to use directly meddle with the Registry to fix that cosmetic issue is like telling them how to conceal that scar with a sharp enough butcher knife.

First do no harm, fam.

Thank you for spinning this around on me and forcing me to try and prove an objective negative just to defend the credibility of a completely effective solution that worked for me.

That you crusade or “have been harping on this issue since” whenever neither makes you right nor others wrong.

I innocently shared my experience, strength, and hope. A mistake I’ll not make again. My experience is different than yours. It clearly rubbed your singularly-unique rightness the wrong way. I’m sorry I triggered you and your need to subordinate me and my share.

I’m done with you. TttH

Nobody says it’s not effective. It’s dangerous for most users to mess with the registry. They can take a minor cosmetic issue and quickly turn it into a system-stopping problem by messing with the registry.

I wasn’t trying to piss you off, but not all help is equally helpful, and the method you shared has risks that potential users need to be aware of.

And Scrivener’s Windows devs really need to fix this issue so users don’t have to keep thinking they need to bust out RegEdit to fix it.