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What is a Silent Uninstall?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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A silent uninstall is a type of command for a computer program that causes the program to uninstall without displaying progress or indication of the process to the computer user. When a computer user uninstalls a program, there is typically a box that displays the progress of the uninstall and requests further action if necessary. This type of uninstall does not display such information, however, and can potentially run without a computer user even knowing it is happening. A silent uninstall is often associated with an unattended uninstall, though they are not necessarily synonymous.

Also called a quiet uninstall, a silent uninstall primarily works just like any other uninstall, but it does not display information about the uninstall. This type of uninstall can be done for a number of different reasons, though it will usually be done to make the uninstall process easier and require less attention from a computer user. To this end, the silent uninstall process is something that can be programmed into the install and uninstall parameters of a computer program. This makes the use of this type of uninstall often reliant on the decisions made by the programmers.

A silent uninstall can also be performed by a computer system administrator, however, to ensure that an uninstall is performed on numerous systems without requiring input from computer users. This can be done on a number of computers that are part of a larger system, overseen by an administrator, and allows an uninstall to be performed without the computer users knowing it is happening. Such a silent uninstall is rarely done in a malicious way, since viruses and other programs usually attack other systems on a computer rather than individual programs.

Often associated with an unattended uninstall, a silent uninstall is not precisely the same process, though they are often used together. An unattended uninstall is one in which no input is required from the computer user during uninstallation of a program. This means that while a silent uninstall occurs without a computer user seeing the progress of the uninstall, an unattended uninstall also ensures that a computer user does not have to do anything during the uninstall. In order to make this type of uninstall effective, the system administrator or programmer may need to override command prompts that would request actions from a computer user, which can include suppressing a request for computer restart after an uninstall.

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Discussion Comments
By pippin — On Sep 29, 2013

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