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List of installed apps in Windows?


Sadly, Windows is not like an 'apt' or 'rpm' distro; although nothing
prevents a Linux user from downloading a source or binary tarball
manually either, so there may be things installed that our Linux tools
don't know about too.

For Windows, there are a number of vendor products in the "IT
Governance:Desktop Inventory" space that use multiple heuristics to
discover what is installed on a desktop Windows PC, so IT can manage
license compliance, end-of-life upgrades, and eradicate unauthorized
downloads.  Some of these can run from a LAN disk and be started by
your IT "push" tool instead of being "installed".

In past lives, I've used Net Admin access to the C$ admin backup share
to scan Start>Programs & "Program Files" for matching entries. I've
installed ActiveState Perl on a LAN disk, put a script and data file
on  the LAN Disk, and sent everyone an email saying "please run this
link" that runs the script off the lan and records the data of what it
found in Registry, Start>Programs, "Program Files". In all of these
cases, I was license-counting or checking version update status, not
searching for _all_ items, but if I wanted to enter the heuristics
arms race, I could do like the professional IT products and build a
catalog of file_name,size,crc <=> product,version. I don't know of a
F/LOSS database of that data to jump-start a catalog.

n1vux at bill.n1vux at

On 11/16/06, Scott R Ehrlich <scott at> wrote:
> Is there a utility which can query a Windows machine (NT 4.0, 2000, XP) and
> produce a list of installed applications?   Not all programs register with
> Add/Remove programs.   Some simply end up in Start > Programs.
> The idea, as well, is to find a utility (even within Windows itself) to produce
> such a complete list, but that does not actually get installed on the machine.
> Belarc Advisor is the only other utility that comes to mind, but it gets
> installed.
> There is a Windows registry key to list programs that have been installed and
> can be uninstalled, but again, not all programs properly register themselves
> there.
> Thanks for any leads.
> Scott

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