Why doesn't Windows have a package manager?

After I uninstalled Visual Studio 2005 Pro I got this very long message (I’ve included it at the bottom of this blog post) telling me to manuall uninstall twenty other programs, in the correct order.

They are capable to install all of this with one single button. Why on earth are they incapable of removing this? Why do I have to remove those programs myself? I’m also fairly sure that I can’t even keep the window open so that I have a reference, because it is an installer and thus locks some DLLs that need to be uninstalled too.

Yes, replacing in-use files. It’s a thing that systems all over the world have been capable of doing for years. Microsoft is still unable to do this nifty little trick that’s oh so useful.

You may wonder why I want to remove Visual Studio in the first place. Well, an update of Internet Explorer broke some programs, so now I’m trying to repair my installation of Visual Studio. The built-in “Repair” function didn’t work, without telling me why. So now I’m back to manually having to remove and reinstall every little part.

Please, Microsoft, join the new millennium and start using a package manager like all those Linux distributions have been doing for years. They don’t use a package manager to tease you. They use a package manager because it’s bloody useful.

Update: after hours of waiting while my computer uninstalled and reinstalled everything, it still didn’t solve my problem. Snif.

The message read:

Uninstall is complete.

Next Step: Uninstall additional components

Additional components might have been installed on your computer by Visual Studio during setup. These components must be manually uninstalled using Add or Remove Programs in the order listed below.

Note: Uninstalling these components might affect other applications you have installed that rely on these components.

The following components might have been installed with Visual Studio:

  1. Microsoft MSDN 2005 Express Edition
  2. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Runtime Language Pack
  3. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Runtime
  4. Microsoft Device Emulator version 1.0
  5. Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 1.0
  6. Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 2.0
  7. Microsoft SQL Mobile 2005 Development Tools
  8. Microsoft Visual J# 2.0 Redistributable Package
  9. Microsoft Visual J# 2.0 Redistributable Language Pack
  10. Microsoft Document Explorer 2005
  11. Microsoft Document Explorer 2005 Language Pack
  12. Microsoft Data Access Components 2.8 SP1 (Windows 2000 only)

The following components might have been installed with SQL Server Express, and need to be removed in the order listed below:

Note: Uninstall of the SQL Express instances will leave behind the user-created databases, which can then be re-attached to the new instance.

  1. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express CTP
  2. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Tools CTP
  3. Microsoft SQL Server Setup Support Files
  4. Microsoft SQL Native Client

The following components must be uninstalled last:

  1. MSXML 6.0 Parser and SDK (only on 32bit)
  2. MSXML 6.0 Parser and SDK x64 (Only on 64bit)
  3. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Language Pack
  4. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
dr. Sybren A. Stüvel
dr. Sybren A. Stüvel
Open Source software developer, photographer, drummer, and electronics tinkerer