Add or Remove Programs Filter

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP1

What does the filter for Add or Remove Programs do?

The filter for Add or Remove Programs provides a means for the user to select whether or not updates, such as security updates downloaded from the Microsoft Web site, are displayed under the Currently installed programs list.

Who does this feature apply to?

Add or Remove Programs can be used by any user with Administrator credentials on the local computer. Although some applications can be installed or removed by non-administrators, most do require administrative credentials.

What existing functionality is changing in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1?

Filtering out updates from the Change or Remove Programs list

Detailed description

The Change or Remove Programs list in Add or Remove Programs displays installed programs that the user can change or remove. This list also shows updates to Windows or other programs that have been installed.

In Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, the user is able to choose whether to show or hide updates for Windows and other programs in this view. A new Show updates check box appears above the list, which enables the user to toggle between showing or hiding installed updates.

Why is this change important?

Software vendors are creating more software updates and releasing them more frequently than ever before. These frequent updates help to increase the reliability and security of user’s systems. However, by showing every update in the Change or Remove Programs list in Add or Remove Programs, the list of installed programs is overwhelmed by the list of installed updates. A new option to filter out the updates from the list and only show installed programs makes this list easier for users to read.

What works differently?

By default, Change or Remove Programs will not show installed updates to Windows. To see the updates that have been installed, you can select the Show Updates check box at the top of the list.

Any program can take advantage of this feature by marking their updates so that they are hidden when appropriate. Windows programs that were written before the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 will be shown regardless of the filter option selection. Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 will also always be shown in the list

How do I resolve these issues?

To turn off the filter feature on a single computer, use the following procedure.

To turn off filter for Add or Remove Programs

  1. Open the Registry Editor by clicking Start, then clicking Run, typing regedit, and pressing Enter.

  2. Navigate to the following registry key: \\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies \Uninstall

  3. Select the DontGroupPatches key.

  4. By default, the DWORD value is equal to 0. Change the DWORD value to 1 to disable the filter feature.


Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

In an enterprise environment, you can create a Group Policy object to modify the registry setting that controls the filter feature to make Add or Remove Programs work as it did previously.

What settings are added or changed in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1?

Filter for Add or Removed Programs Settings

Setting Name Location Previous Default Value Default Value Possible Values



Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\





Do I need to change my code to work with Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1?

Programs do not need to change in order to continue to work with the filter for Add or Remove Programs. If a program is not changed to use the new feature, it will continue working as it did previously.

A program can take advantage of the new filtering option by marking its updates so that they are not shown by default. Details on how to mark programs as updates are available on MSDN in "Working with Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel Application" which is located on the Microsoft Web site at