Big block of blank space in Add/Remove Programs

This isn’t an earth shattering issue, but as I was looking into some other problems on a Windows XP Pro system, I noticed a HUGE blank space in the Add/Remove programs area of the control panel. It was something like this, there were several entries (10 maybe) and then a huge block of blank space perhaps hundreds of “pages” long. I scrolled a bit with the mouse wheel and was not making quick progress, so just grabbed the scroll bar and pulled down to see the next 30-40 entries.

At first I suspected some sort of malware (spyware, adware, virus?) So, I started searching. Anyway, I ran across a few references.

It turns out it’s because of the way Windows deals with invalid icon calls in the listing of programs. If a program has given bad information on how to get the icon to show (false information or an unallowed address) it gives the huge blank space. So, you basically want to look in the registry (run regedit from start…run) and look for the following key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\

Once you’re there you will see very long labelled sub-keys – one for each program installed. Search through these for entries called “DisplayIcon”. The DisplayIcon value is usually a path to a filename followed by a number (c:\program files\yourprogram\file.exe, -1) IF the number is a negative 1 that is likely the problem. Take out the – and that should solve the blank space. I wonder if there are other problems that could trigger this (missing file?)

Anyway, it’s a little annoyance…

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