How do I perform a clean installation of MATLAB on a Windows system?

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For diagnostic purposes, how can I uninstall MATLAB from a Windows system? I would also like to completely remove any remaining files or settings so that the software can be re-installed cleanly.

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 28 Sep 2021
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 2 Nov 2021 at 19:22
While it is not necessary to perform a "clean" installation of MATLAB, remnants from a previous installations of MATLAB may cause problems with a new installation of MATLAB.  To perform a clean installation of MATLAB:
  1. Uninstall MATLAB and manually delete the installation folder
  2. Delete the user preferences directory
  3. Remove the MathWorks Installer
1. Uninstall MATLAB and manually delete the installation folder
Uninstall MATLAB from the "Add or remove programs" menu in Windows. Detailed instructions can be found here:
After this is done, open a File Explorer window and navigate to the MATLAB root folder. By default on Windows, this folder is located at:
C:\Program Files\MATLAB\
Delete the folder pertaining to the release that you wish to remove. Please also delete any desktop shortcuts for MATLAB. Note: If you are unable to locate MATLAB in these locations, please check with your system administrator to find the MATLAB installation directory.
2. Delete the user preferences directory
In a File Explorer window, type the following into the address bar and then press Enter:
%appdata%
This will bring you to a folder called "Roaming" in the user account that you are currently logged in as. From here, open "MathWorks" and then "MATLAB".
Delete the folder corresponding to the MATLAB release you are removing, e.g. "R2020b." There may also be a licenses directory for the release in question, e.g. "R2020b_ licenses." Remove this folder as well.
Note: if you are an administrator performing this action for another user, you will need to do it from that user's Roaming directory, not the administrator's.
3. Remove the MathWorks Installer
Finally, delete the MathWorks installer you previously downloaded from your Downloads folder. This folder can change depending on your internet browser settings, but the default location is listed below:
C:\Users\%username%\Downloads
There will be a folder and EXE to delete for each MATLAB release. Please delete both and then re-download the installer from the MathWorks website.
Examples for the files are:
matlab_R20XXx_win64.exe
_temp_matlab_R20XXx_win64
Note: the XXx is a place holder for your specific release of MATLAB.

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