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Manually Uninstalling NT Services via Console

Posted June 2003 by Steve Sinchak

There's times when a program just doesn't work like it's supposed to and leaves those services just sitting behind in your configuration. The purpose of this tutorial is to quickly show you how to delete that left-behind service. This How-To assumes you have Administrative privileges and some minimal knowledge of managing NT's services the usual way, which is via the Services GUI window. I will keep it to a dummy's level as much as possible.

*As usual, before making any changes to your services please make a backup so that if something goes wrong afterwards you can revert back to an original state.

To begin, load up the console window. Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, and the click on "Command Prompt". In the console type: sc and press the Enter key. Lot's of juicy info here, although probably boring for you. It will ask you if you want to view the query command help info, press n for no. You can read on this query stuff later.

To delete a service we need to know what Service Name is for the service we want to delete. The Service Name is not to easy to find via the sc command-line tool unless you know how to query for specific info so I am going to show you the no-brainer way to find it. Open the Services GUI window by going to Start, All Programs, Administrative Tools, and clicking on "Services". You can also load it up by going to Start, Run and typing in services.msc. Once it's loaded up, right-click the service that is not uninstalling and click on "Properties". At the top you will see "Service name:". That's the Service Name we are looking for so note that down on some paper or something. Be sure you didn't mistake it for "Display name:", "Display name" isn't the right one. Now go back in the console window, and to simply delete the service type sc delete ServiceName. Replace ServiceName with the name you wrote down.

Here's a note if you're getting an error saying the service is not installed. Typically with Service Names that are broken up into words you will need to enclose the name in quotes. So, an example would: sc delete "Service Name"

It should say service successfully deleted or something of that nature. If you refresh your Services GUI window and notice the service is still listed, that's because the service was tagged for deletion upon reboot of your machine. So in that case, reboot your machine.

If you want to read more on this tool go to Start, click on "Help and Support" and search for sc command-line tool.

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