How to Remove Windows XP Service Pack 1 Folders

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Article ID: 329260
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Summary

Three folders are created when you install Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows XP and archive the files that are necessary to remove Windows XP SP1. These three folders contain temporary and archived files that you can use to remove Windows XP SP1. This article describes the purpose of these three folders, and which folders you can safely delete.

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New Folders That Are Created When You Install Windows XP SP1

The following folders are created when you install Windows XP SP1:
  • %systemroot%\Servicepackfiles
  • %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$
  • folder name that contains 20 random characters, for example, 9470bb12e8a4f3447657236478e41c5
NOTE: The %systemroot% environment variable refers to your Windows folder.

The %systemroot%\Servicepackfiles Folder

IMPORTANT: Do not delete or move this folder.

This folder contains files that are required when you add or remove optional Windows components. This folder is also used by Windows File Protection (WFP) to replace damaged or changed protected system files.

The %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$ Folder

IMPORTANT: Do not delete this folder unless you are sure that you will not want to remove Windows XP SP1 in the future.

When you install the service pack and choose to archive the files you need to remove the service pack, Windows automatically creates a backup. This is a backup of the files and settings that the service pack installer changes, and which are saved in the %systemroot%\$NTServicepackUninstall$ folder. You can use the contents of this folder to return your computer to its previous state. If you delete this folder, you cannot remove the service pack. If you are sure that you will not want to remove the service pack, you can safely delete this folder. If you delete the %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$ folder, the option to remove the service pack still appears in the Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel. When you try to remove the service pack, you may receive the following error message:
Uninstaller Error

An error occurred while trying to remove Windows XP Service Pack 1. It may have already been uninstalled. Would you like to remove Windows XP Service Pack 1 from the Add or Remove programs list?
If you click Yes, the option to remove SP1 is removed from the Add or Remove Programs tool.

The Windows XP SP1 Installation Temporary Files Folder

This folder is not required after you install the service pack, and you can safely delete this folder. When you install Windows XP SP1, this temporary folder is created on the volume that has the most free space. The folder name contains 20 random characters, and is not always created on the same volume as the Windows folder. For example, this temporary folder may have the following name:
9470bb12e8a4f3447657236478e41c5
This folder is automatically deleted by Windows XP after you install the service pack. However, if the folder is not automatically deleted by Windows XP, you can safely delete this folder.

Removing a Service Pack

You can remove Windows XP SP1 by using the Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel or by running the uninstallation program from a command prompt. Notes about removing a service pack:
  • You cannot remove a service pack that you installed in Integrated mode.
  • If you used the -n parameter when you ran Servicepack.exe, you cannot remove the service pack.
  • If you install any programs or services that require or have fixes that are contained in the service pack, removal of the service pack may adversely affect those programs.
  • Do not remove the service pack if you have installed any programs since you installed the service pack.
  • Do not remove the service pack if it contains system updates such as file format, database format, and registry format changes that Setup cannot remove.
To uninstall a service pack by using the Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel:
  1. In Control Panel, double-click Add or Remove Programs, click ServicePack.exe, and then click Change/Remove.
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen.
To uninstall a service pack from a command prompt:
  • Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
  • Change to the c:\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst folder.
  • Type Spuninst.exe, and then press ENTER.
  • Type exit, and then press ENTER.
For additional information about how to obtain Windows XP SP1, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322389 How to Obtain the Latest Windows XP Service Pack

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Article ID: 329260 - Last Review: June 19, 2014 - Revision: 2.0
Keywords: 
kbenv kbhowto kbsetup KB329260

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