How to Fix Issue When Add Remove Control Panel is Blank or Won't Open

Add Remove Control Panel will not Open
I worked on a Windows 2000 Professional computer over the weekend where the Add and Remove Control Panel was essentially blank. The Appwiz.cpl file would open but at the top of the screen were the options all jumbled together and the rest of the window was blank.

My first thought was some corrupted Windows 2000 files, so I ran sfc /scannow from a command prompt and let the system check every file. Unfortunately, this did not solve the problem. A few spyware programs were loaded, so I proceeded to remove the offending software and clean up the system as well.

After a thorough cleaning and a reboot, I checked the Add/Remove Control Panel again and the problem still remained.

Next, I registered the file Appwiz.cpl (the Add Remove Control Panel Applet), but I was still stuck. I checked the rest of the system for problems and everything else appeared to be fine. However, I did discover the issue. When I opened Internet Explorer and clicked on Help and About Internet Explorer then window opened but no information was presented telling me the version number of IE, the cypher strength, etc.  There was the problem, since Windows is so tightly integrated with Internet Explorer, if IE was not working properly the control panel applet for Add and Remove Programs would not work.

To correct the problems with Internet Explorer (especially since it was a version installed with Windows 2000), I used a cool little program in my arsenal called IEFix. Follow these steps to correct the issue:

1) Download IEFix to your desktop and unzip it

2) Double-click on the file to open it

3) Click Apply to fix any Internet Explorer errors

4) After running IEFix, reboot your computer.

In my case, this completely fixed the problem with a blank Add Remove Control Panel. However, there are some instances where other fixes are needed. In these cases, follow the steps below to troubleshoot this problem and solve it.

1) To rule out any spyware or viruses causing the issue, you should run a thorough scan of your system using your favorite antivirus and spyware programs. If you dont currently use an antivirus or spyware removal program you should. You can refer to my page on Essential Tools to download this type of software.

2) Next, run a check for any missing or corrupted Windows files by clicking on Start, Run, and typing sfc /scannow and pressing Enter. The system will scan Windows for any problem core files and ask for your Windows installation CD to replace any problem files.

3) You may want to try to register the control panel file by clicking on Start, Run and typing REGSVR32 APPWIZ.CPL and pressing Enter. This will re-register the program with Windows.

4) If you are still having problems, then I would run IEFix and correct any Internet Explorer issues.

There is a Microsoft Support Article for Windows 98 and NT concerning an issue where not all programs will be shown in the Add/Remove Control Panel. The problem happens when a display name or uninstall key is greater than 63 characters.

Hopefully, these suggestions will fix any issues that you may experience with the Add or Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel.

Written by Mark Hasting


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