How to uninstall an instance of SQL Server 2008

Applies to: SQL Server 2008 DeveloperSQL Server 2008 EnterpriseSQL Server 2008 Express

For a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 version of this article, see 909967.
For a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 version of this article, see 290991.
This article describes how to uninstall a stand-alone instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2008. When you follow the steps in this article, you also prepare the system so that you can reinstall SQL Server 2008.
Note To maintain or to update an instance of SQL Server 2008, you must be a local administrator who has permission to log on as a service.

How to uninstall an instance of SQL Server 2008

Note SQL Server setup is a complicated process. SQL Server setup modifies lots of registry keys and DLL files. SQL Server setup also installs and updates permission entries and service registrations. 

We test SQL Server setup procedures, both installation and uninstallation, in many configurations. However, we cannot test all configurations due to the number of third-party products and customer specific changes that can occur at the operating system level. Therefore, you may encounter rare circumstances that prevent successfully installing or uninstalling SQL Server by using the setup program.

Because of these complexities, the SQL Server Support team may recommend that you reinstall the operating system if the procedures outlined in this article do not help perform a clean uninstall of the SQL Server program. This helps provide a clean platform to reinstall SQL server on your system.
  1. Open the Programs and Features item in Control Panel.To do this, click Start, type appwiz.cplin the Start Search box, and then click appwiz.cpl in the Programs list.
  2. Select the SQL Server component to uninstall, and then click Change/Remove. This will start the SQL Server Installation Wizard.
  3. Setup Support Rules will run to verify your computer configuration. To continue, click Ok.
  4. On the Select Instance page, use the drop-down box to specify an instance of SQL Server to remove, or specify the option to remove only the SQL Server shared features and management tools. To continue, click Next.
  5. On the Select Features page, specify the features to remove from the specified instance of SQL Server. To continue, click Next.
  6. Removal Rules will run to verify that the operation can complete successfully.
  7. On the Ready to Uninstall page, review the list of components and features that will be uninstalled.
  8. The Setup Progress page will display Setup status.
  9. On the Completing Setup page, click Close to exit the Installation Wizard.
  10. Repeat steps 2-9 until all SQL Server 2008 components have been removed.

If the Uninstallation Fails

  1. If the uninstallation process does not complete successfully, try to fix the problem that caused the uninstallation to fail. The following articles can help you understand the cause of the failed uninstallation:
  2. If you are unable to fix the cause of the uninstallation failure, you can contact Microsoft Support.
    In some cases, such as unintentional deletion of important files, reinstalling the operating system may be required before reinstalling SQL Server on the computer.