Uninstall problems with Office 2013 or Office 365

A simple solution to uninstall problems with Office 2013/Office 365.

If you’re trying to uninstall Office 2013 you might get some unhelpful error messages like:

Couldn’t uninstall Office
We’re sorry, Office couldn’t be uninstalled. Please try uninstalling Office again.

‘Try later’ isn’t a very useful suggestion.  How much later?  A minute, an hour, a day?

Office is busy.
Office can’t do that right now because your product is busy with another task. Please wait for this task to complete and try again.

This is a better message with some clue to the underlying problem.  Sometimes an Office program appears to have finished but it’s actually still lingering in the background.  Outlook is the most likely culprit and has been for years.

If an Office program is still running, it’s holding onto connections to Office application files.  While those file connections are running, Office can’t delete the files or uninstall.

The simple solution is to restart the computer and immediately uninstall Office.  You’d think the on-screen message could say that.

A restart should work, as long as there’s no automatic startup programs that use Office applications.

If a restart doesn’t help, try the Manual uninstall steps here . Make sue you use the right ones for a ‘Click to Run’ or ‘MSI’ install of Office.

Office 365 users should remember to ‘Deactivate Install’ from their Office 365 account page.  This will release that software license to be used on another computer.