Generate a List of Installed Programs in Windows

If you need to reinstall Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP for any reason, you may want a list of the programs you have installed on your system so you can easily know what programs you need to reinstall once you have installed Windows again.

NOTE: This procedure shows you how to generate a list of installed programs only. The license keys and serial numbers for the programs are not included in the list. To generate a list of license keys and serials numbers for your installed programs, see our post, Recover License Keys for Installed Software.

To generate the list of installed programs, open the Command Prompt as Administrator. To do this in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, enter “cmd” (without the quotes) in the Search Programs and Files box on the Start menu. The cmd.exe program should automatically be highlighted in the Programs section of the results. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open cmd.exe as Administrator.

Starting cmd from Search box on Start menu in Windows 7

You can also open the Command Prompt as Administrator in Windows 7 or Windows Vista by opening All Programs | Accessories on the Start menu. Right-click on the Command Prompt shortcut and select Run as administrator from the popup menu.

Starting Command Prompt from Accessories on Start menu in Windows 7

If you are using Windows XP, open All Programs | Accessories on the Start menu. Right-click on the Command Prompt shortcut and select Run as from the popup menu.

Selecting Run as for Command Prompt in Windows XP

The Run As dialog box displays. Select the The following user radio button and select Administrator from the User name drop-down list, if it is not already selected. Enter the Administrator password in the Password edit box. Click OK.

Run As dialog box in Windows XP

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista and the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.

NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings. See our post, Windows 7 – How to configure UAC (User Account Control), for more information.

User Account Control dialog box for the Command Prompt in Windows 7

Enter “wmic” (wmic is the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line tool) at the command line and press Enter.

NOTE: For more information about WMIC, see Microsoft – Using the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) tool.

Entering wmic command

Enter the following line at the wmic:root\cli prompt and press Enter.

/output:C:\InstallList.txt product get name,version

NOTE: There is a space between .txt and product, between product and get, and between get and name.

You can also change the name of the output file and drive letter and path (right after /output:) if you want to modify the output location.

Entering the output command

The InstallList.txt file is created on the root of the C: drive.

NOTE: Depending on how many programs are installed, you may have to wait a bit for the list of installed programs to be created. You will know that the list is complete when you get the wmic:root\cli prompt again.

InstallList.txt file created

When you open the InstallList.txt file in a text editor, you can view the Name and Version of every program installed on your computer in a nice table.

InstallList.txt file open in Notepad

To exit out of wmic, enter “exit” (without the quotes) at the wmic:root\cli prompt.

Entering exit on root\cli prompt

To close the Command Prompt window, enter “exit” (again, without the quotes) at the main prompt.

Entering exit on main command prompt

You can also change the name of the output file and drive letter and path (right after /output:) if you want to modify the output location.

by Lori Kaufman

Comments [7]

  1. Does not work, I get Generic Failure Code 0x80041001 Facility WMI. What does that mean?

  2. Does not work – not all applications are listed.

  3. I have Windows XP Professional, although I thought I was purchasing the Media Edition. When I followed your direction about Command Prompt…Administrator, the resulting Command Prompt screen didn’t say C:\System 32, but rather, C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator. This confused me, but once I entered wmic, it followed right along. I’m not sure if every program is listed, but before I lose this page, I wanted to give you my positive feedback.

    I did have to print Landscape to get name and version on one line. I also had to find a way to find a way to change the Administrator password, which I found on another website.

    Most sincere thanks for making this a do-able project. Now, at least I have a list someone can look at to help me get rid of the extra junk that’s dropped me down to less than 1% free space. Thanks

  4. I have followed your instruction to the letter. However when I enter wmic:root\cli put in /output:C:\InstallList.txt product get name,version and press Enter. I copied and pasted the text so I had it perfect with all the space. However, all it did was take me back to wmic:root\cli. I did this three times and every time I got the same result. Hence, no list of programs.

    Please advise me what I need to do different.
    Thanks for any help you can give me

    Bob Patrick

  5. I tried it on Windows 7, it fails:
    wmic:root\cli>output:C:\InstallList.txt product get name,version
    output:C:\InstallList.txt – Alias not found.

  6. It worked in my computer. However, it could not detect some software such as Adobe Flash and Plugins. And also, if you don’t mind, just want to ask if where does the wmic get it’s data? Thanks a lot

  7. Thank you for the information but I would still like to make a correction and comment.

    The correct command is simply wmic and NOT
    wmic:root\cli as you show above; instead what happens is the line wmic:root\cli will be displayed.

    A suggestion, although you have different directions for different versions of windows, but they are somewhat confusing and I’d recommend clearly identifying each section under the specific version.

    Thank you again


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