“Windows Program Compatibility mode is on. Turn it off and then try Setup again.” – How to uninstall an app if this happens.

I tried uninstalling an application (in my case, I was uninstalling Visual Studio 2012 RC), and I kept getting this error.

Following the logs and the help file got me nowhere, and neither did searching all over the internet for instructions on how to uninstall this using a tool or the registry or whatever.

Disabling the program compatibility service also does not work.

It turns out that setup.exe was marked to run in Compatibility Mode, which is what was stopping me from uninstalling.

So my mission was now to find where the uninstall package actually is on my hard drive and to check what the compatibility settings are.

This is simple: (instructions are for uninstalling on Windows 8)

  1. Run the uninstaller until it fails
  2. Go to task manager
  3. Call up the context menu for the installer process (right-click)
  4. Select ‘open file location’
  5. This will open the package folder
  6. Call up the context menu for the uninstaller executable
  7. Select the ‘compatibility’ tab
  8. Disable all compatibility settings over here
  9. ~the end~

I hope this helps someone!



32 thoughts on ““Windows Program Compatibility mode is on. Turn it off and then try Setup again.” – How to uninstall an app if this happens.

  1. Thanks man it realy worked for me….Try to use simple words which is even understood to common user.

  2. Thanks,but I did a different way. I don’t know what context menu is, spo i just right-click VS and open file location, right clicked then go properties, then go on compatibility, and just deselect the run in compatibility mode for:! Easy for noobs!!!

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    Please permit me know so that I may subscribe.


  4. Thanks!!! I had no idea what was going on, you’re wonderful and thank you for the baby steps, without skipping around. Very straightforward. Many thanks!

  5. It didn’t work. This is the Visual Studio 2012 Windows 8 on Windows 8.1. Please point out if it works on Windows 8.1

        1. got suck in win 8.1, the solution did not help.
          then reading the comments i saw your post
          downloaded it with IE and it worked. brilliant.

  6. Sometimes when copying files you might end up with a file name “filename (1)” or similar. After removing the (1) portion of the file and ensuring compatibility mode was turned off I was able to run the installation of Visual Studio SDK and Modeling SDK 2012 I was attempting to install into Win Serv 2012. Maybe this might help someone.

  7. Compatibility changes does not work for me, but i have tried to download an iso instalation version (VS2012_TEAMEXP_MSDN_enu.iso) and that have worked.

  8. I had a similar problem when trying to install Visual Studio Express 2012. I kept getting this message, even after playing with the compatibility settings. It turns out that VSE expects the installation program to be named “wdexpress_full.exe”. I had changed the name to “Visual Studio Express 2012_full.exe” because I hate finding files 6 months later that I can’t identify. Once I changed it back, it ran just fine. I wonder if the spaces in the file name messed it up…

  9. I had a similar problem installing Visual Studio community 2013. After reading this post I opened the download folder, right clicked on the setup file, and ran the compatibility troubleshooter. It worked like a charm!

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