HOW TO: Uninstall PGP Products in Windows Safe Mode


Article ID: 180172


Updated On:


Symantec Products




This article details how to uninstall PGP Desktop in Windows Safe Mode.


Warning: Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer. For more information on backing up the registry see the following article on the Microsoft support site:

How to back up and restore the registry

Typically programs that are installed with Microsoft Windows Installer cannot be uninstalled in Windows Safe Mode. Although rare, it may be necessary to uninstall a PGP product in Windows Safe Mode. The Windows registry must be changed to allow the process to uninstall in Windows Safe Mode. Before making any changes to the Windows registry, a backup should be made in case recovery is needed.

Backing up the Registry:


Note: An alternate method of opening the Windows registry is through the Task Manager. Press Ctrl+ Alt + Del and click Task Manager. Select New Task, and type regedit in the Open field, then click OK. If this does not work, booting to Windows Safe Mode may be necessary to make changes to the registry.


  1. To backup the registry, click Start>Run, and type regedit in the open field and click OK.
  2. Click on the My Computer icon on the top of the left pane.
  3. Click the Registry file menu, then select Export.
  4. For the Export Range, select All.
  5. Enter a filename for your backup in the File Name field and click Save.

The following Microsoft article allows you to backup the registry via System Restore points:

Changing the Registry to Allow Uninstalling in Safe Mode (Windows XP or Vista)


  1. Go to start, run, and type: cmd, and click OK. A command prompt window appears.
  2. Enter the following command into the command line window and press the enter key (the command is all on one line):

    REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"

  3. A confirmation dialogue appears: The operation completed successfully.
  4. Type: net start msiserver at the command prompt. Another confirmation should appear: The Windows was started successfully.
  5. After completing the previous steps, reboot the system to Safe Mode to uninstall the PGP product in question (this step may need to be performed in safe mode depending on the state of the machine).

Changing the Registry to Allow Uninstalling in Safe Mode (Windows 2000)

Since Windows 2000 does not allow a registry key to be created from the command line, the following steps will explain how to create the needed registry entry manually.


  1. Click Start, Run, type: regedit and click OK.
  2. Click the plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  3. Browse to SYSTEM>CurrentControlSet>Control>Minimal folder.
  4. Check to see if the Minimal folder contains a folder named MSIServer.
  5. If there is a folder, skip to step 10. If there is not a MSIServer folder, right-click on the Minimal folder, select New, then select Key.
  6. Name the new folder MSIServer.
  7. Select the MSIServer folder so it is highlighted, then click Edit from the top menu, select New, String Value (the String Value does not need a name), then double-click on the new String Value that was just created and for the Value Data, enter Service, then click OK (If a registry key with the same value data already exists, uninstalling in Safe Mode should already be possible).
  8. Close the registry.
  9. Click Start>Run and type: cmd in the field and click OK.
  10. At the command prompt, type: net start msiserver and press enter. A confirmation should appear: The Windows Installer service was started successfully.

Now the PGP software can be uninstalled in Safe Mode.

Booting to Safe Mode:

In order to boot into Windows Safe Mode, please see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: