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Resolving Installation Errors using the Registry Editor

Introduction

In some rare cases, while using TracerPlus Desktop or TracerPlus Connect (hereon referred to as TracerPlus), you may run into an error message similar to the following:

  • “Could not find a part of the path”
  • “The network path was not found”

What does this mean? TracerPlus, or Windows (acting on behalf of TracerPlus), is requesting a resource that it cannot locate. Why does this happen? If the resource, or the directory containing the resource, no longer exists, then TracerPlus (or Windows) doesn’t know how or where to find it.

In normal operation, you should never see an error like this. It is possible to see this error while attempting to uninstall an instance of TracerPlus that was installed to an Active Directory location that no longer exists. This document will attempt to help you resolve this issue.

What is causing the uninstall operation to fail? When you install an application on Windows, Windows will generate a reference to the installer, so if you ever choose to uninstall the application, Windows will use the reference to locate the installer, and run it (the installer contains the logic to uninstall the application as well). If the installation took place on an Active Directory instance, and the Active Directory no longer exists, that reference is now gone, prompting the error messages you are seeing (noted above).

DISCLAIMER: The instructions contained herein can potentially negatively affect your system, rendering it malfunctioning or non-operable. If you choose to follow these instructions, you do so at your own risk. PTS does not assume any responsibility for what may happen to your system by following these instructions.

The Registry Editor

To fix the issue, we will need to manually uninstall the application: to do that, we need to access and modify the Windows Registry. The registry is a fundamental part of the Windows operating system. It contains a record of all the pieces of your specific system, enabling Windows to operate smoothly. Editing the registry in an incorrect manner can cause system failure. Please be careful when editing the registry, to avoid a headache.

First, open the registry editor. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • Press the following key sequence: WINDOWS key (has the Windows logo printed on it) + R. This brings up the Run application, which provides easy access to virtually any Windows function, file or folder (very useful). Type in regedit, and hit Enter. This will bring up the Registry Editor. (this is fastest on Windows XP)
  • Open the Start Menu; you can either press the WINDOWS key, or click the Start Menu “globe” on the left-most (or top-most, depending on your taskbar position) part of your screen. With this open, type regedit: the text automatically gets searched because the focus is on the search bar when the Start Menu is open. Hit enter: the first selected item in the search pane is launched (which will always be regedit). (this is fastest on Windows Vista and Windows 7)
  • On Windows 8, the fastest way to access the editor is to hit WINDOWS + S. This brings up the search menu (on the right). Type in regedit and hit enter, the process is similar to the second step.

Once the registry editor is open, you will see the top node (My Computer) and several HKEY sub nodes. Traversing through these sub keys is a tall order, so instead we’ll let the computer do the work for us. Press Ctrl + F (or navigate to Edit > Find… using the mouse), this brings up the find window. Enter your search query here: you can start with “tracerplus” (case is not important). Make sure that the options to look at Keys, Values, and Data are all checked, and that Match whole string only is unchecked. Once you hit Enter/Find Next, you will be presented with the first instance of the search results. You can hit F3 to move to the next result: the search will automatically repeat at the end until no more search results are found.

What to do

You must delete ALL the registry keys and values that correspond to the broken installation associated with the non-existent Active Directory. There is no set of clear cut guidelines as to what exactly you must delete, so use your best judgment. A good rule of thumb is this: if you are not certain beyond a measurable doubt what the specific key/value relates to, do not delete it. You CANNOT undo a registry change.

Here are some tips:

  • If you are getting too many results, narrow down the search results by putting in a new search query.
  • Look for the keys/values that match the version of the software you are trying to uninstall. So if you are trying to uninstall 8.0… do not delete keys associated with 9.0.
  • If a key (the subfolder icons that contain the data values) contains only items associated with the application you are attempting to uninstall, you can delete the whole key.

Once that is done, you should not be seeing the error message or said issue any longer. Good luck.

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  1. Fahim Ali (Migrated deleted Agent)

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