Article ID: 875350
Important This article contains information that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect your system.
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Summary

This article describes how to remove Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) from your computer.

More information

Warning This workaround may make your computer or your network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.Note You cannot remove Windows XP SP2 if you installed the service pack on a computer that already had Windows XP SP2 installed. The removal program will roll back to the version of Windows that existed before your installation. In this case, the program will roll back to the first installation of Windows XP SP2.

Important If you install Windows XP SP2 on a computer that is already running Windows XP SP2, you will create a new uninstall folder on your hard disk drive. This new folder will use 50-100 megabytes of disk space. Every time that you install Windows XP SP2, a new folder is created.

Use any one of the following methods to remove Microsoft Windows XP SP2 from your computer:
  • Use the Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel
  • Use the hidden $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder
  • Use the System Restore process
  • Use Recovery Console
Important We recommend that you use the following methods in the order that they are listed.

Use the Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel

  1. Click Start, click Run, type appwiz.cpl in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Click to select the Show Updates check box.
  3. Click Windows XP Service Pack 2, and then click Remove.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP2.

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 2 Removal Wizard starts, click Next.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP2.

Use the System Restore process

  1. Click Start, click Run, type %SystemRoot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Click Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.
  3. Click the date that you installed Windows XP SP2, and then click Installed Window XP Service Pack 2 in the Restore Point box.
  4. Click Next, and then follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP2.

Use Recovery Console

Warning The following steps contain information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up, and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require that you reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

If you cannot successfully remove Windows XP SP2 by using one of the previous methods, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP startup disk in your floppy disk drive or insert the Windows XP CD in the CD drive or in the DVD drive, and then restart your computer.

    Note 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 Your computer must be configured to start from the CD drive or the DVD drive. For more information about how to configure your computer to start from the CD drive or the DVD drive, see the documentation that came with your computer or contact the computer manufacturer.
  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 Windows XP installation in question.

    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 will not be able to continue if you do not have the administrator password.
  5. At the command prompt, type cd $ntservicepackuninstall$\spuninst, and then press ENTER.

    Note After you complete this step, you cannot stop the removal process.
  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 files being copied. This is normal behavior.
  7. After Windows XP SP2 is removed, type exit, and then press ENTER.
  8. Restart your computer in Safe Mode. To do this, press F8 as the computer restarts.
    Note After you restart, the system may lock up with a black screen. (Your mouse will work.) In this case, restart again by turning the computer off and then back on. The second restart will let you to log on.
  9. When your 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 to start Task Manager.
    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. On the right side of the viewing pane, right-click ObjectName, click Modify, type LocalSystem in the Value data box, and then click OK.
    6. Restart your computer
  10. Use one of the previous methods to remove Windows XP SP2 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 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

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Article ID: 875350 - Last Review: December 27, 2013 - Revision: 10.0
Keywords: 
kbuninstall kbhowto KB875350

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