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INTRODUCTION

Windows Vista service packs are important updates for Windows Vista. Windows Vista service packs contain many updates to improve the reliability and usability of Windows Vista.

However, after you install a Windows Vista service pack, you may notice that a hardware device or an installed program works differently. Therefore, you may want to uninstall a Windows Vista service pack as a troubleshooting step.

This article describes the recommended methods to uninstall Windows Vista service packs. This article is for intermediate to advanced users. You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.

After you uninstall a Windows Vista service pack, we recommend that you visit the following Microsoft Web site to install the latest updates:
http://update.microsoft.com

TROUBLESHOOTING

To uninstall a Windows Vista service pack, follow these methods in the order in which they are presented. First, try method 1.

Method 1: Uninstall the Windows Vista service pack by using the Programs and Features item in Control Panel

The easiest way to uninstall a Windows Vista service pack is to use the Programs and Features item in Control Panel. To uninstall the Windows Vista service pack by using the Programs and Features item in Control Panel, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , type Appwiz.cpl in the Start Search box, and then click Appwiz.cpl in the Programs list.

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    User Access Control permission
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  2. Click View installed updates.
  3. Click the service pack that you want to uninstall, and then click Uninstall.

    If you cannot see the Uninstall option for Windows Vista service pack in the list, go to method 2.
  4. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to complete the uninstall process.
If these steps successfully uninstalled Windows Vista service pack, and this resolves the issue, you are finished.
  • If these steps do not uninstall the Windows Vista service pack, or if these steps successfully uninstall the Windows Vista service pack but do not resolve the issue, you might have to restore the system to a previous state. To do this, go to method 2.
  • If you do not want to remove changes that you have made since you installed the service pack and restore the system to a previous state, go to method 3. Method 3 is intended for advanced users.

Method 2: Uninstall Windows Vista service pack and restore your computer by using System Restore

Important This method removes any changes that you may have made since installing the Windows Vista service pack. If you do not want to remove these settings, go to method 3.

If method 1 did not work, or if you want to uninstall the Windows Vista service pack and restore the system to a previous working state, use this method. You can use offline System Restore or System Restore to remove a Windows Vista service pack and restore your computer.

Note As a best practice, use offline System Restore when you want to use System Restore to uninstall a Windows Vista service pack.

Note The System Restore process does not delete any personal files or personal data.

Method 2A: Offline System Restore

Use this method when you have the Windows Vista installation CD or DVD. If you do not have the installation disc, go to method 2B.
Prerequisite
To use offline System Restore, you must have a Windows Vista CD or DVD. Additionally, your computer must be configured to start from the CD or DVD drive. In some cases, you may have to modify the BIOS settings on the computer to configure the computer to start from the CD or DVD drive. For more information about how to configure the computer to start from the CD or DVD drive, see your computer documentation or contact the computer manufacturer.

First, start the computer from the CD drive. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows Vista CD or DVD, and then restart the computer.
  2. When you receive the following message, press any key:
    Press any key to boot from CD or DVD.
  3. Set the following preferences, and then click Next:
    • Language to install
    • Time and currency format
    • Keyboard or input method
Then, use offline System Restore to remove the Windows Vista service pack. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Repair your computer, select the operating system that you want to repair if it is necessary, and then click Next.
  2. Click System Restore, and then click Next.
  3. Click to select the Restore Point that matches the installation date for the service pack. The Restore Point will be labeled either Install: Windows Update or Install: Windows Vista Service Pack <version>.
  4. Confirm the hard disk that you want to restore, and then click Next.
  5. Click Finish, and then click Yes when you are prompted.
  6. When the System Restore process is complete, click Restart to restart the computer.
  7. After the computer restarts, click Close to confirm that the System Restore process has finished successfully.
If these steps successfully uninstall the Windows Vista service pack and restore your computer, you are finished. If these steps do not uninstall the Windows Vista service pack, or if these steps successfully uninstall the Windows Vista service pack but do not resolve the issue, go to the “Next Steps” section for information about how to contact Support.

Method 2B: System Restore in Windows Vista

Use this method if you do not have the Windows Vista installation CD or DVD.

Important Before you use System Restore, make sure that you have restarted the computer at least one time since you have installed the Windows Vista service pack. By restarting the computer, you allow for any remaining servicing processes to finish.

To use System Restore in Windows Vista to remove the Windows Vista service pack, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , type rstrui in the Start Search box, and then click rstrui in the Programs list.

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    User Access Control permission
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  2. In the Restore System Files and Settings window, click Next.
  3. In the Choose a Restore Point window, click the Restore Point that matches the installation date for the Windows Vista service pack, and then click Next.

    Note The Restore Point will be labeled either Install: Windows Update or Install: Windows Vista Service Pack <version>.
  4. Verify the restore point that you want to use, and then click Finish.
If these steps successfully uninstall the Windows Vista service pack and restore your computer, you are finished. If these steps do not uninstall the Windows Vista service pack, or if these steps successfully uninstall the Windows Vista service pack but do not resolve the issue, go to the “Next Steps” section for information about how to contact Support.

Method 3: Uninstall Windows Vista service pack from a Command Prompt

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NoteIf you have used the Disk Cleanup Wizard, it may have removed some temporary installation files which are needed to uninstall the Windows Vista service pack. If this is the case, this method may not work for you and you should go to method 2.

This section is intended for advanced users. Use this method if you are running the prerelease version of a Windows Vista service pack, or if you cannot see the uninstall option for a Windows Vista service pack listed in the Program and Features window. If you cannot see the uninstall option for the Windows Vista service pack, you may still be able to uninstall the service pack at a command prompt. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt window. To do this, click Start
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    the Start button
    , type command in the Start Search box, right-click CommandPrompt, and then click Run as administrator.
  2. Run the following command, as appropriate for the version of the Windows Vista service that you want to uninstall:
    • For Windows Vista Service Pack 1:
      C:\temp\Windows6.0-KB936330-X86.exe /x:C:\temp
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      NoteThis command assumes that the Windows6.0-KB936330.exe folder is in the C:\Temp folder
    • For Windows Vista Service Pack 2:
      C:\temp\Windows6.0-KB948465-NNN.exe /x:C:\temp
      In this command, NNN represents x86, x64, or IA-64.
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      NoteThis command assumes that the Windows6.0-KB948465-X86.exe folder is in the C:\Temp folder.
  3. You have to create a sandbox environment before you can continue to step 4. This helps you safely run an untrusted program. To create a sandbox, type md sandbox.
  4. To remove the Windows Vista service pack, type, or copy and paste the following command, as appropriate for the version of the Windows Vista service that you want to uninstall::
    • For Windows Vista Service Pack 1
      start /w pkgmgr.exe /m:c:\temp\Windows6.0-KB936330-X86.cab /up /s:sandbox
    • For Windows Vista Service Pack 2
      start /w pkgmgr.exe /m:c:\temp\Windows6.0-KB948465-NNN.cab /up /s:sandbox.
      In this command, NNN represents x86, x64, or IA-64.
  5. After Pkgmgr.exe finishes, you are prompted to restart the computer to complete the uninstall process.
If these steps successfully uninstall the Windows Vista service pack, and this resolves the issue, you are finished. If these steps do not uninstall the Windows Vista service pack, or if these steps uninstall the service pack but do not resolve your issue, you will have to restore the system to a previous state. To do this, go to method 3.

KNOWN ISSUES

  • Issue

    You can uninstall a Windows Vista service pack if the wbem path is not present in the PATH environment variable.

    Resolution

    To resolve this issue, add %systemroot%\system32\wbem to the PATH environment variable. To do this follow these steps:
    1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    2. On the Advanced tab, click Environment Variables.
    3. Under System Variables double-click the PATH environment variable.
    4. Type the following text at the end of the Variable value text box:
      ;%SystemRoot%\System32\wbem
      Note Do not remove existing system variables.
    5. Click OK three times to close System Properties.
  • Issue

    You will be unable to uninstall a Windows Vista service pack if your computer has very little free disk space.

    Resolution

    To resolve this issue, Use the Disk Cleanup wizard to clean your hard disk.
    1. Click Start
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      Start button
      , type disk cleanup in the Start Search box, and then click Disk Cleanup in the Programs list.
    2. Follow the instructions.

REFERENCES

For notable changes in Windows Server 2008 SP2 and in Windows Vista SP2, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd335036.aspx

Properties

Article ID: 948537 - Last Review: June 29, 2011 - Revision: 8.4
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2
Keywords: 
kbservicepack kbexpertisebeginner kbhowto KB948537

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