Suddenly, every time I ran the Add or Remove Programs on my Windows XP machine, the window would just say “Please wait while list is being populated…” and just stay that way. Well, after reading countless sites I finally found the solution here. Who is the culprit??? F’ckin Java!!!
Basically, you just run RegEdit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Uninstall. Search for Java entries and look at the DisplayIcon Value Data. It has a bad path with two backslashes, like C:Program FilesJavajre1.6.0_02\binjavaws.exe. Just delete one of the extra backslashes in all of the entries you find. Reboot and Add or Remove Programs should work fine after that.
I really didn’t need another reason to hate Java, but there it is…
An even better solution is to just uninstall Java altogether! Can’t think of why I need it. This also solves the constant update nag notification in the system tray too! Make sure you still run RegEdit and kill all traces of Java that the uninstall leave behind as well as the Program FilesJava folder. Ahhhhh….that’s better.
The problem came back again so maybe Java isn’t the sole culprit. I got a copy of PC Tool’s Registry Mechanic at Staples (for an amazing $14.99) and it didn’t fix the problem, although my PC seems to run smoother after using it. Then I tried running the Windows command “SFC /SCANNOW” and that seemed to fix things again. (Make sure you have your Windows install CD before running.) Hope this fix sticks cuz I’m sick of fixes!
I FIGURED IT OUT!!! Based on my research, the Add or Remove Programs app can get hung up due to a problematic external drive. I didn’t have one attached, but then it occurred to me that I did have a “virtual” one: an FTP site mapped to a drive via NetDrive. Sure enough, when I disconnect the mapped drive, the Uninstall list populated instantly! Not sure the best way to solve, but I’ll probably just turn NetDrive on and off as needed and not let it autoconnect upon booting. Whew! So happy to solve this mystery!
UPDATE II 2010-12-04:
I deleted a bunch of empty random folders on the FTP site–have no idea how then got there–and now NetDrive seems to coexist fine with Add or Remove Programs. Not sure if this will continue, but I am sure that this is the culprit when I encounter uninstalling issues. Guess I just have to see if the problem crops up again.