How to Fix: Can't Uninstall Winzip (Manual Removal, Automated)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Shelly T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'm trying to uninstall Winzip, but it failed during the uninstall. Now there doesn't seem to be any way to uninstall this annoying program! When I searched Google, I came across instructions on Winzip's website that says in order to uninstall Winzip, go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features and uninstall from there. The problem is that Winzip isn't listed anywhere - and yet, the program remains on my computer. For example, I've installed 7zip (after attempting to uninstall Winzip), and had even had 7zip registered to open my .ZIP files, but Winzip is STILL attempting to open my .ZIP files! How do I get rid of Winzip once and for all? "

My response:

I have seen this type of behavior before with Winzip. Once it's on your system, it is extremely difficult to remove, and it takes over your file associations even though you've explicitly told it not to. These kinds of tactics are reminiscent of malware behavior. The fact is: 7zip is free and Winzip is not, which makes me wonder if Winzip is purposely making things difficult for its "millions of users". If profit were any type of driving force in the matter, then we likely have our answer.

With that said, I asked Shelly if she would like me to connect to her system using my remote desktop support service in to have a closer look at the issue, and she agreed. Below I'll explain how to uninstall Winzip once and for all.

How to Fix: Can't Uninstall Winzip (Manual Removal, Automated)

  1. First, press CTRL + D on the keyboard to bookmark this page, as you will need to reboot the system to completely remove Winzip. If there is an issue after the reboot, the bookmark will take you back here where you can contact me for additional support if needed (described near the end of this article).

    With that said, I will assume that most people reading this have already attempted to remove Winzip from the Control Panel -> Add / Remove Programs, or Control Panel -> Programs and Features and have been unsuccessful. These two options are the same, though "Programs and Features" is for later editions of Windows.
  2. This may sound counter intuitive, but to ensure that Winzip uninstalls properly (especially after a failed uninstall), you will need to download Winzip again and install it. Once it's been installed, it should be guaranteed to uninstall properly with the script I've created further down.

    For what it's worth, even after I reinstalled Winzip on Shelly's computer, it was still not listed in her Control Panel -> Programs and Features (Add / Remove Programs), and therefore offering her no way to uninstall the program. Furthermore, I did not see an option for "uninstall" in the Winzip folder via the Start menu. Once again, I have to wonder if Winzip is doing this on purpose to keep the program permanently attached to systems. With that said, let's carry on!
  3. Now it's time to manually remove Winzip. The first thing you will need to do is open up an elevated command prompt. To do so: click Start, then type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for "CMD.EXE" or "Command Prompt" to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator".
  4. Next, use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    taskkill /im winzip* >nul 2>&1
    taskkill /im WzPreloader* >nul 2>&1
    attrib -r "C:\Program Files\Winzip" >nul 2>&1
    attrib -r "C:\Program Files\Winzip\*.*" /s >nul 2>&1
    attrib -r "C:\Program Files (x86)\Winzip" >nul 2>&1
    attrib -r "C:\Program Files (x86)\Winzip\*.*" /s >nul 2>&1
    "%ProgramFiles%\WinZip\winzip32" /uninstall >nul 2>&1
    "%ProgramFiles%\WinZip\winzip64" /uninstall >nul 2>&1
    "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\WinZip\winzip32" /uninstall >nul 2>&1
  5. Right click over top of the highlighted text above and select "Copy" from the dialogue menu. After that, go to the command prompt you opened in Step #3 and right click in the middle of the window and select "Paste" from the dialogue menu. The commands you copied in Step #4 should be automatically output to the command line, and the Winzip uninstall wizard should start. It will say: "You are about to uninstall Winzip. In order to run WinZip again, you will have to reinstall the program. Are you sure you want to continue?" By all means, I urge you to emphatically click "YES!" to begin the removal process.
  6. Once Winzip is removed, you will need to reboot the system as per instruction from the Winzip uninstall wizard. I suggest you bookmark this page if you have not done so already (press CTRL + D on the keyboard now to do so). In case you have issues after the reboot, you can come back to this page and email me for additional support if needed.

That said, hopefully everything will run smoothly and Winzip will be removed - once and for all!

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if Winzip is still stuck on your system, I would be more than happy to provide you with 1-on-1 support using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing your issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Navy vet's picture

I used free Revo Uninstaller to remove it.

davidmeddows's picture

Thank you Denis.
And also thank you navy-vet - revo installed works.

Boots66's picture

It has been some time since I had this issue, but I was trying to correct a corruption issue and needed to remove WinZip and put it back in - but that too could not happen - In searching and searching the Web, I found on the WinZip site itself, at that time, a WinZip removal app that helped me to completely remove my corrupted WinZip. Then I could reinstall WinZip with no further issues.
As I did not expect to have to run it again, I did not keep the app. But thought I would mention if for anyone else that may want to look for it.

clark's picture

Hi Dennis, thanks for your careful writeup I was able to make some headway on clearing a trial edition of WinZip 22.5 from my system. (What was I thinking when I installed this beast? Well I had fond memories of very early versions of Winzip from the CompuServe days... which rather dates me, doesn't it? ;-) Anyway ... when I tried to uninstall this nagware using Settings/App/WinZip 22.5/Uninstall on my Win10 Pro 64bit v1703 system, the uninstall process stalled ... I gave it 5 minutes to make any more progress on what its popup window estimated as "9 seconds" more work, then rebooted. I installed the same version again, ran your script, and it seemed to run to completion, anyway in its dying gasp WinZip hijacked my browser and opened a webpage (with some tracking info which I won't reproduce) so I reckoned it was done and dusted (except for the cookie-crumbs I imagine it left in my browser) after I rebooted my laptop. Wrong. It was still listed in Settings/App. And it was still listed in my Start menu.... but I think your script may have crippled something in its tentacles? Anyway my next attempt at uninstalling succeeded -- that one was launched through a Start menu entry called (ominously) something like Winzip Tools, and this uninstall routine vectored through the trusty old Control Panel that still lurks under the Win10 hood...making me think that, just maybe, it would have uninstalled on my first attempt if I had used Control Panel rather than the glitzy Win10 App listing. Sigh, never a dull moment with Windows updates to their UI, just when you think you have learned how to use it, they change something! Ah yes, showing my age again ... WinZip 22's uninstall difficulty reminds me of BonziBuddy, I imagine that'll still be running on some old Windows boxes although Wikipedia tells me its last release was 2004. Ahead of its time in many ways ;-) Anyway thanks again for your recipe even though it didn't quite work it got me onto a successful path for uninstalling WinZip 22.5. Then again... maybe it'll return tomorrow, who can tell ;-)

Dennis Faas's picture

The script erases Winzip from the system, but there may be a dummy entry in the Control Panel. You can check if Winzip is deleted by going to Start -> Winzip folder and then try and launch Winzip. If it doesn't launch then you have your answer. Install 7zip instead (it's free).

clark's picture

Hi Dennis, I agree with your recommendation, 7zip doesn't have the nasty side-effects of WZ, offers features beyond Window's builtin zipper, and provides a reasonably-understandable UI for anyone who can't be bothered (or don't know how to) run gzip from a console.

I *suspect* there's a new hook in WZ's background tool. See which discusses an hourly (!) cron job. If one of these is running at the time of an uninstall attempt through Settings/App/WinZip 22.5, then maybe it'll fail? And maybe one of these background tasks was not fully killed off by the time your last few scripted commands were interpreted, causing its uninstall to be incomplete? It wouldn't surprise me if the current version of WZ can't be uninstalled successfully through the Settings/App UI, but can be uninstalled using the uninstall script that's in the Start/Winzip Tool area, or by going through Control Panel and *first* uninstalling the Winzip Background Tools and then uninstalling Winzip? Anyway I won't try to diagnose, nagware and malware always present moving targets to third-party uninstall scripts & tools, for the malware it's a spy-vs-spy escalation and for the nagware (e.g. WZ) it's perhaps just that the QA team will never treat uninstall issues as a high priority but instead is always scrambling to patch the latest release (which is unstable for the usual reasons of feature-creep and UI-fiddling, and also due to their product's ever-escalating battle with nagware-removal tools and hacks).

Just in case it helps you (or anyone else) figure out how to cut these (suspected) new tentacles in WZ, here are all of the MsiInstaller events in my log from the time of my first uninstall attempt (through Settings/App/Winzip 22.5), my second uninstall attempt (running your script), and my third uninstall attempt (using the uninstall affordance in Start/Winzip Background Tools, which launched a window showing Control Panel). The third attempt still seems (the morning after) to have been fully successful.

d.b.a.nicholson_15699's picture

I believe I input your script correctly and got two boxes asking if I was sure I wanted it gone, which I accepted. However, after a reset (holding down the power button), I noticed the shortcuts remained on my desktop and after visiting the file location, all or most seems to still be intact.
I'm not against factory resetting my laptop since it's only a few days old and my data can be easily recovered, but I'd hate to do that and still see this MALWARE on it.

Revo installer worked for me, but I just used a program I know nothing about to remove a program that I know nothing about, I cannot vouch that revo will not become your next WinZip, if you have the money, have the website owner help you. I don't, I've been eating carbs and sodium for the last 3 years of college. I will say though, that I don't see WinZip interrupting my downloads anymore and force opening my files.