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Uninstalling Outlook or Office updates

After installing an update for Outlook, I’m encountering some strange issues with Outlook which I think are directly related to the update and not to any other Outlook issue.

How can I uninstall the update again to verify if the issue will indeed be gone then?

While in general updates should improve Outlook, updates such as KB2509470 and before that KB2412171 (coincidentally both for Outlook 2007) both got pulled and it was recommended to uninstall them if you were seriously affected by it.

There are several ways to do this depending on the type of update, your version of Outlook and your version of Windows.

Note: If you are using an Office 365 installation such as Office 365 Home Premium or Home and Business see the instructions at Uninstall Office 365 Click-To-Run Updates instead.

Security update, regular update, rollup update, Service Pack or hotfix

Just a word of caution; if the update you are trying to uninstall is an update that fixes a security issue, then it is highly recommended to leave the update installed and see if there is a workaround available for the issue you are experiencing with the update.

If there is no workaround, read the security bulletin for the update to verify if you are affected by this security flaw and/or if there are other ways to protect you from this. If there is, you can safely remove it if you take those measurements.

Service Packs can be safely removed as long as the previous Service Pack or original release is still supported (as Service Packs also contain security updates). Other non-security updates can be safely removed as well.

Note: When a fixed version of a security update is being released, make sure you install it again as soon as possible.

Method 1: Standard uninstall method

The recommended method is to remove the update Control Panel. Most updates can be removed this way.

  • Windows XP
    Control Panel-> Add or Remove Programs-> enable option: Show Updates Uninstall Office update - Windows XP
     
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
    Control Panel-> Uninstall a Program-> View installed updates
    Uninstall Office update - Windows 7

In Windows XP, the update should be listed under Microsoft Office. Simply select the update and click on the “Remove“ button.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the overview is sorted by “Installed on” by default which should help locating the update. You can also type “KB” and the number in the search field in the top right corner to easily locate the update.
For instance; KB2509470
Once found, select the update and press the “Uninstall” button.

Method 2: System Restore

Some updates (especially for Office 2003 and previous) cannot be removed via the “Installed updates” list. In that case you can use System Restore to revert your system back to a date before you installed the update. This will uninstall other updates or applications that you have installed between then and now as well so make sure you reinstall those afterwards.

Note: Using System Restore does not affect your data but it never hurts to make a backup of your Outlook data before proceeding.

You can start System Restore in the following way;

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7
    Start-> All Programs-> Accessories-> System Tools-> System Restore
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7
    Start-> type: System Restore
  • Windows 8
    Start-> type: Create a Restore Point
    System Properties will open to the System Protection tab where you can click the System Restore… button.
System Restore - Windows XP (click on image to enlarge)
System Restore: Windows XP
System Restore - Windows 7 (click on image to enlarge)
System Restore: Windows 7

Method 3: Reinstall Office

If the update cannot be uninstalled and have System Restore disabled or no restore point from before you installed the update, then you’ll have to reinstall Office. This sounds more drastic than it is; it basically is only time-consuming.

Before you start, make sure you have the installation file/CD/DVD for your version of Office and your Product Key available. If you have misplaced them see;
Office replacement installation disks and keys

Note: While reinstalling Office will not delete any settings or date, it never hurts to make a backup of your Outlook data before proceeding.

After you have reinstalled Office, make sure you reinstall the latest Service Packs and updates for Office again (except of course the one that was bugging you). When using the Windows Update website via Windows XP, you can click “Custom” so you can select which updates to install.

Block update from being automatically installed

When you have uninstalled an update which has not yet been pulled by Microsoft, it will be automatically installed again if Windows Update is configured to automatically install updates. There are 2 methods to prevent this from happening;

Method 1: Hide the update
Hide the update in Windows Update and regularly check if a fix has been released as hidden updates won’t be installed automatically. You can hide an update in the following way;

  • Windows XP
    On the Windows Update website, select Custom so you can choose which updates to install. Locate the update and deselect it. There will now become an option active which says; Don’t show this update again
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
    In Windows Update, right click on the update and select; Hide Update

You can unhide the update again to get the newly released version if it is not automatically offered already. You’ll find the “Restore hidden updates” option in the left panel of Windows Update.

Method 2: Set Windows Update to download and notify only
Instead of letting Windows Update automatically download and install updates, you can also set it to notify you of updates. This will allow you to review and (de)select updates that would otherwise be automatically installed.

You can change your Windows Update settings in the following way;

  • Windows XP
    Right click on “My Computer” and choose Properties. Here you’ll have a tab called Automatic Updates. Set the option on this tab to;
    Download updates for me but let me choose when to install them.
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
    In Windows Update, there is a “Change settings” link in the left panel. Set the “Important updates” option in this panel to;
    Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.

Windows Update - Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
When you set Windows Update to download only, you can review and select which updates to install and when.



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