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Article ID: 950249 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 6.0

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INTRODUCTION

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) contains important updates for Windows XP. After you install Windows XP SP3, a hardware device or an installed program may work differently. Therefore, you may want to uninstall Windows XP SP3 as a troubleshooting step. This article describes how to remove Windows XP SP3 from your computer.

More information

To remove Windows XP SP3 from your computer, use one of the following methods.

Important After you remove Windows XP Service Pack 3 from your computer, we recommend that you visit the following Microsoft Web page and then install the latest security updates:
http://update.microsoft.com (http://update.microsoft.com)

Method 1: Use the "Add or Remove Programs" item in Control Panel

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Copy and then paste the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:
    appwiz.cpl
  3. Click to select the Show Updates check box.
  4. Click Windows XP Service Pack 3, and then click Remove.
  5. Click Finish to restart the computer after the removal process is complete.

Method 2: Use the hidden $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder

  1. Click Start, click Run, type c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. When the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Removal Wizard starts, click Next.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP3.

Method 3: Use the System Restore process

Note Before you use System Restore, make sure that you have restarted the computer at least one time after you installed Windows XP SP3. By restarting the computer, you allow for any remaining servicing processes to finish.
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Copy and then paste the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:
    %systemroot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe
  3. Click Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.
  4. Click the date on which you installed Windows XP SP3, and then click Installed Window XP Service Pack 3 in the Restore Point box.
  5. Click Next, and then follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP3.

Method 4: Use Recovery Console

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

If you cannot remove Windows XP SP3 by using one of the previous methods, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP CD in the CD drive or in the DVD drive, and then restart your computer. When you receive the following message, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD:
    Press any key to boot from CD
    Note The computer must be configured to start from the CD drive or from the DVD drive. For more information about how to configure your computer to start from the CD drive or from the DVD drive, see the documentation that was included with your computer, or contact the computer manufacturer. You can also use a bootable floppy disk to start Windows XP. For more information, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    305595  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305595/ ) How to create a bootable floppy disk for an NTFS or FAT partition in Windows XP
  2. When you receive the Welcome to Setup message, press R to start the Recovery Console.

    Note Multiple options will appear on the screen.
  3. Select the correct Windows XP installation.

    Note You must select a number before you press ENTER, or the computer will restart. Typically, only the 1: C:\Windows selection is available.
  4. If you are prompted to type an administrator password, do so. If you do not know the administrator password, press ENTER. (Typically, the password is blank.)

    Note You cannot continue if you do not have the administrator password.
  5. At the command prompt, type cd $ntservicepackuninstall$\spuninst, and then press ENTER.
  6. At the command prompt, type batch spuninst.txt, and then press ENTER.

    Note The Spuninstal.txt file appears. As the file scrolls down, you will see errors and the files that are being copied. This is typical behavior.
  7. After Windows XP SP3 is removed, type exit, and then press ENTER.
  8. Restart the computer in safe mode. To do this, press F8 when the computer restarts.

    Note After you restart the computer, the computer may stop responding, and you may see a black screen. The mouse will work. In this case, restart the computer again by turning the computer off and then back on. The second restart will let you log on.
  9. When the computer restarts, Windows Explorer (Explorer.exe) does not run, and the Windows icons and the Start button are unavailable. To resolve this problem, follow these steps:
    1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL, and then click Task Manager in the Windows Security screen.
    2. Click File, and then click New Task (Run).
    3. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
    4. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\RpcSs
    5. In the details pane, right-click ObjectName, click Modify, type LocalSystem in the Value data box, and then click OK.
    6. Restart the computer
  10. Use one of the previous methods to remove Windows XP SP3 from your computer.
For more information about how to install and use the Recovery Console, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307654  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307654/ ) How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP
If you need help about how to install, reinstall, or uninstall Windows, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/install-reinstall-uninstall (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/install-reinstall-uninstall)

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3
Keywords: 
kbexpertisebeginner kbhowto kbinfo KB950249
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