Silverlight is Microsoft’s equivalent of Adobe’s Flash and is a web browser plug in that is used to display graphics and provide playback of several media formats. It means that developers of browser-based applications don’t have to create multiple versions for different browsers since Silverlight provides a consistent runtime environment.
However, Silverlight is relatively recent and therefore is not as well-established as Flash, meaning that there are fewer applications that support it. It is also a browser-only solution, whereas Flash can also be deployed on the desktop.
Why You Need to Uninstall Silverlight
There are reported instances of Silverlight causing Internet Explorer to crash, particularly when installed with Internet Explorer 7. If you have experienced problems with Internet Explorer closing down for no apparent reason and have Silverlight browser extensions installed, you might want to try to remove them to see if this cures the problem.
Installing a later version of Silverlight requires that any previous version is first uninstalled. If this is not done, the installation will fail until you delete Silverlight.
Errors may also result from seemingly unrelated software installations. Later versions of Visual Studio, for example, will install the Silverlight runtime and software developers’ kit as part of the package. If these are already installed, problems will result and so you should firstly uninstall everything relating to Silverlight.
Of course, you may simply find that there are insufficient applications that support Silverlight and that Flash is a better prospect. However, this situation may change as Silverlight continues to develop.
Microsoft’s recommended method to delete Silverlight is to use the standard Windows uninstaller. At the Control Panel, select Add or Remove Programs or Programs and Functions (depending on your version of Windows) to list all installed programs. Select the non-required versions of Silverlight, choose to uninstall and follow the prompts.
In case Silverlight does not show up in the list of installed programs, the best option is to download and install Silverlight again. This should correct any corrupt installation settings and restore the uninstall entry.
As with many uninstallations, this may not delete Silverlight entirely. In particular, it will probably leave behind some registry entries and you may be able to remove these using a specialist registry cleaner. However, if you do this, be careful which one you choose because some cause more problems than they solve. To be safe, backup your registry and create a restore point before starting so that you can get back to a situation that worked.
If you have a problem when trying to uninstall Silverlight, you may be able to resolve this by downloading and running the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. You must be logged in as an administrator to run it and will select Silverlight from the list of installed products.
The utility does not remove any files or folders but instead clears the installer configuration so that, as far as Windows is concerned, the installation of Silverlight no longer exists. You can then reinstall the application or manually delete the program folders for Silverlight.
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