Add/Remove Windows Components Won’t Start, Cannot Find Games.inf

January 15, 2009

in Windows

by David Hakala

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. One such intention is to get rid of the frivolous games in your Windows installation CD. So you create a customized installation CD using the freeware program NLite. You omit the games when compiling the new installation CD.

Later, you arrive at Hell when you open “Add or Remove Programs,” click on “Add/Remove Windows Components”, and get the following error message:

Games.inf error

Games.inf error

The configuration file games.inf was left out of your customized installation along with the games it specifies. Other files required by Add/Remove Windows Components are also missing: pinball.inf and igames.inf.

If you still have the original Windows installation CD, you can copy these files from it to the folder c:\windows\inf. But if you don’t have that installation disc, here is what to do:

Open Notepad or any text editor and open the file c:\windows\inf\sysoc.inf
Find the name games.inf in sysoc.inf. It will be in a line that looks like this:


Put a semi-colon at the beginning of the “Games” line to disregard that line.

; Games=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,games.inf,HIDE,7

Do the same with the pinball.inf and igames.inf lines:


Save sysoc.inf and try Add/Remove Windows Components again.

The Add/Remove Windows Components program can be run from the command line to perform automated Add/Remove operations swiftly. To run this program from the command line,

Enter sysocmgr.exe /i:c:\windows\inf\sysoc.inf

Various command-line switches enable these operations:


“Path to answer file” is the full path to the answer file that contains a list of items to add or remove. An answer file can be created with a text editor. An example answer file might be named junkoff.inf and contain these lines:

Paint = off
pinball = off
Solitaire = off

sysocmgr.exe /i:c:\windows\inf\sysoc.inf /u:c:\windows\inf\junkoff.inf

removes the Windows components Paint, Pinball, and Solitaire.

Other useful command line switches are:

/q runs sysocmgr.exe in “quiet mode” without display pages

/r suppresses any reboot prompts; if a reboot is necessary to implement a change, you will have to do it manually

Run sysocmgr.exe with no switches to get a list of all available switch options.

This is one of the pitfalls of customizing a Windows installation CD. Fortunately, it has an easy fix.

David Hakala has written technology tutorials since 1988, in addition to tech journalism, profitable content, documentation, and marketing collateral.


ben 11.10.09 at 7:02 am

Thanks for this. Helped out quite a bit.
Unfortunately now I’m looking for a way to nip it from checking for msnmsn.inf… lol

ben 11.10.09 at 7:04 am

hmmm. can’t seem to edit last post.

Never forget Ctrl F… found that pesky msnmsn.inf reference and added a semicolon on his biznatch too!

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