How to remove pcANYWHERE32 v8.0 from Windows XP

…so you naively thought that continuing past the Windows XP compatibility warning and installing pcANYWHERE 8.0 would give you a working pcANYWHERE client but no server?

…and you now have a machine that just boots into a black 640×480 screen which ignores Ctrl+Alt+Delete but does let you move the mouse?

…even if you choose to boot into Safe Mode?

Here’s how I recovered my Windows XP retro-machine without undue pain:

  1. Pull up the “Windows Advanced Options Menu” (Hit F8 after your BIOS hands off to Windows but before the boot logo appears… I just tap it repeatedly.)
  2. Choose “Last Know Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)”
  3. You’ll probably get a working boot with auto-login temporarily disabled. I just hit Enter with the username it pre-filled and no password.
  4. Use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall pcANYWHERE.
  5. To be sure you’ve gotten rid of it, go into System Restore (Start > Applications > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore) and roll your system configuration back to the most recent System Restore point.

That should do it.

TIP: If you can’t get F8 to work, make sure you’re using a PS/2 keyboard, not a USB one.

(If your BIOS doesn’t have working USB→PS/2 keyboard emulation, the Windows boot menu won’t see your input either because it happens before Windows’s own USB HID drivers get loaded. This confused me for a moment, before I realized I’d never needed to go into the BIOS setup or boot menu, or access the Windows boot options since I switched to a USB+VGA KVM switch to let it share the desk with my Power Mac G4.)

CC BY-SA 4.0 How to remove pcANYWHERE32 v8.0 from Windows XP by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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