Windows XP Service Pack 2 (Part 9): Uninstalling Service Pack 2

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Article ID: 889743 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This article is Part 9 of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide. This article describes how to uninstall Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).

To view the other articles in the Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that are listed in the "References" section.

The Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide includes the following topics:
Part 1:  Better security with Service Pack 2

Part 2:  Installing Service Pack 2

Part 3:  The new Security Center

Part 4:  Automatic Updates

Part 5:  Virus protection

Part 6:  Windows Firewall

Part 7:  Protecting against buffer overflows

Part 8:  Improvements in Internet Explorer and Outlook Express

Part 9:  Uninstalling Service Pack 2

MORE INFORMATION

Part 9: Uninstalling Service Pack 2

A Windows XP-based computer may not operate as expected after you install Windows XP SP2. You may be able to solve problems by using the firewall settings or the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature. However, some software programs that are installed on the computer may be incompatible with Windows XP SP2. The software manufacturer may not have released an update.

In this case, you can uninstall Windows XP SP2. To do this, you typically use the Add or Remove Programs item in Control Panel.

How to use Control Panel to uninstall Windows XP SP2

  1. Click Start, point to Control Panel, and then click Add or Remove Programs.
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    Add or Remove Programs icon (Control Panel)
  2. Click Change or Remove Programs, if it is not already selected.
  3. Click Windows XP Service Pack 2, and then click Remove.
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    Add or Remove Programs window - Windows XP SP2
  4. Click Next.
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    Windows XP SP2 Removal Wizard - Confirm remove
  5. Click Finish to finish the removal of Windows XP SP2 and to restart the computer.
  6. To make sure that the computer is adequately protected without Windows XP SP2, enable the firewall, update the virus protection program, and then run Windows Update.

How to uninstall Windows XP SP2 by using the 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 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows


If you can no longer start the computer after you install Windows XP SP2, you cannot uninstall Windows XP SP2 by using the usual method. In this case, use the Recovery Console to uninstall Windows XP SP2.

Before you can uninstall Windows XP SP2 by using the Recovery Console, the computer must be configured to start from the installation disk. Make sure that the installation disk is listed first in the basic input/output system (BIOS) boot sequence. There are usually instructions on how to do this in the user manual for the computer.

To uninstall Windows XP SP2 by using the Recovery Console, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP installation disk into the disk drive, and then restart the computer.
  2. Press any key to start the computer from the installation disk.
  3. Press R when the Welcome screen appears.
  4. Select a destination path for the Windows installation files, and then press ENTER.

    Note The default location is C:\WINDOWS.
  5. If a password has been set for the Administrator account, type the password, and then press ENTER. If no password has been set for the Administrator account, press ENTER.
  6. At the command prompt, type the following commands, and press ENTER after each command:
    cd $ntservicepackuninstall$\spuninst
    batch spuninst.txt
    exit
    Note You may receive an "Access Denied" error message. This is not a problem. All important security data will be copied back.
  7. Remove the installation disk from the disk drive, and then restart the computer.
  8. Log on to the computer as you usually do.

    Note Click No when you receive the Ignore the Windows Product Activation message.
  9. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK to open Registry Editor.
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    Run - regedit

    Note Alternatively, you can use the Task Manager Manager to start Registry Editor. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to start the Task Manager.
    2. On the Applications tab, click New Task.
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      Windows Task Manager - Applications tab - New Task...
    3. Type regedit, and then click OK.
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      Create New Task - regedit
  10. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RpcSs
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    Registry Editor window - Object Name selected
  11. Double-click the ObjectName entry, type LocalSystem in the Value data box, and then click OK.
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    Edit String - Value: Local System
  12. Restart the computer.

    Note If you cannot restart the computer as you typically do, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, click ShutDown, select Restart, and then click OK.
  13. Open the C:\WINDOWS\system32 folder, and then locate the Wpa.bak file. This file is the backup copy of your Product Activation.
  14. Right-click the Wpa.bak file, and then click Copy.
  15. Right-click an empty area in the folder, and then click Paste.
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    Create copy of wpa.bak in System32 folder
  16. Locate and then right-click the Wpa.dbl file, and then click Delete.
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    Delete wpa.dbl
  17. Right-click the copy of the Wpa.bak file, and then type wpa.dbl to rename it.
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    Rename copy of wpa.bak as wpa.dbl
  18. Restart the computer.

    Note You will no longer be prompted to activate Windows XP.
  19. Remove the remaining Windows XP SP2 components. To do this, click Start, point to Control Panel, click Add or Remove Programs, select a component to remove, and then click Remove.

    Note The Removal Wizard may display a warning before you remove a Windows XP SP2 component. You can safely ignore this warning. After you restart the computer, the component will function correctly.
  20. To make sure that the computer is adequately protected without Windows XP SP2, enable a firewall if you have one, update the virus protection program, and then run Windows Update.

REFERENCES

For more information about the other topics in the Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
889735 Windows XP Service Pack 2 (Part 1)

889736 Installing Service Pack 2 (Part 2)

889737 The new Security Center (Part 3)

889738 Automatic Updates (Part 4)

889739 Virus protection (Part 5)

889740 Windows Firewall (Part 6)

889741 Protecting against buffer overflows (Part 7)

889742 Improvements in Internet Explorer and Outlook Express
This article is a translation from German. Any subsequent changes or additions to the original German article may not be reflected in this translation. The information that is contained in this article is based on the German-language versions of this product. The accuracy of this information relative to other language versions of this product is not tested within the framework of this translation. Microsoft makes this information available without warranty of its accuracy or functionality and without warranty of the completeness or accuracy of the translation.

Properties

Article ID: 889743 - Last Review: February 6, 2007 - Revision: 1.6
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB889743

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