Performing a clean uninstall of ArcGIS Desktop

There comes a time, when you may get persisting issues with your ArcGIS Desktop software and a clean uninstall is the only solution left on the table. But what exactly is the best workflow to follow and how do you go about executing it?

General Workflow for a ‘clean’ uninstall > reinstall

Please note that this article demonstrates the ‘Clean’ uninstall/reinstall workflow on a machine using a Windows OS and administrative access is required.

WARNING: You will be making changes to your computer’s registry.  Esri is not responsible for any incorrect changes made to the registry of your machine.  Please make the changes with your own permission. It is recommended that you back up your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult a qualified systems professional if necessary.


Close all ArcGIS desktop applications (i.e. ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, etc).

Run the uninstall for your Esri products via:

Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > select your ArcGIS product – right-click item > select uninstall/change and follow prompts choosing remove. For more information on this process please refer to the Uninstalling ArcGIS Desktop documentation.

Remove Directories

  1. Login with Administrative rights
  2. Close all ArcGIS Desktop applications including ArcMap, ArcCatalog, etc
  3. Delete or rename the following directories if they still exist:
    • C:\Users\*user-name*\AppData\Roaming\ESRI
    • C:\Users\*user-name*\AppData\Local\ESRI
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ArcGIS
    • C:\Users\*user-name*\Documents\ArcGIS\AddIns\Desktop10.x

If the folder is hidden you will need to go into the view tab on your windows explorer interface > navigate your way to the show/hide panel and select Hidden Items. Directories like ‘AppData’ are by default hidden folders.

Remove Registry Keys

Open the registry editor (From Start Menu, type “Regedit”).

If the following registry keys if they still exist then delete them. They should be deleted after the uninstall has been completed.



In order to download your ArcGIS Desktop software, you will need to have download permissions enabled for your myESRI user. Please consult your myESRI administrator. Locate your install file by logging into myESRI > MyOrganizations > Downloads > ArcGIS Desktop > select ArcGIS Desktop (the first file) and hit download.

Once downloaded it is as easy as running the file and following the bouncing ball.

For more detailed steps on the install workflow, read Installing ArcGIS Desktop on your computer.

For a breakdown of the ArcGIS Desktop components, read installing and configuring ArcGIS Desktop.


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