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How to Delete a Windows Service in Windows 7, Vista or XP

If you are a fan of tweaking your system and disabling services, you might find that over time your Windows Services list becomes huge and unwieldy with a large number of services in the list that will never be enabled.

Instead of just disabling a service, you can alternatively completely delete the service. This technique can be especially helpful if you’ve installed some piece of software that doesn’t uninstall correctly, and leaves an item in the service list.

Important Note: Once you delete a service, it’s gone, and it’s going to be a pain to add it back. Use with caution.

Deleting a Service

The first thing you’ll need to do is identify the name of the service, so open up Services through the start menu or control panel, and then find the service in the list that you want to delete.

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You’ll want to open up the properties by double-clicking on the service name, and then highlight the “Service name” value and copy it to the clipboard. This is what we’ll need to disable it.

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You’ll need to open up a command prompt, and if you are using Windows 7 or Vista you’ll need to right-click the command prompt and choose Run as Administrator. We’ll use the sc command to actually do the work.

The syntax used to delete a service is this:

sc delete ServiceName

If your service name has spaces in it, you’ll need to wrap the service name in quotes, like this:

sc delete “Adobe LM Service”

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Note that I’m not recommending deleting this particular service, it’s just an example.

Now if you use the F5 key to refresh your Services list, you’ll see that the service is gone.

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I’ve found that using this technique (carefully) can make your Services list a lot more useful, since you don’t have to weed through dozens of items you will never have enabled.

Note: You should think long and hard before deleting a service, because it’s very difficult to get them back once they are gone.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/26/08

Comments (64)

  1. Eric

    Is there any way a list of common and safe services to disable could be added? I really get lost in all of them.

  2. bob

    “services”does not exist in the start menu or the control panel in vista home premium.does it go by another term?where else could i look? thanks bob.

  3. The Geek

    @bob

    It should be under Administrative tools, or you can just type “services” into the start menu search box.

  4. raphoenix

    @The Geek

    A very good article. Many times when a program is un-installed, the program’s service(s) may not be un-installed for various reasons. Another good tip on how to keep one’s computer operating system in a top notch clean condition.

  5. Chaynee

    @bob

    its called “services” only on the english version of vista… on the german version its “dienste”. Dont know whats service in french or other languages, but you got the idea, i hope.

  6. olad

    or you could use a little known, small footprint, program called pserv, now version 2.7
    http://www.p-nand-q.com/download/pserv_cpl.html

  7. hotangel

    @bob
    You can make a shortcut of “services” in vista. Just right click on the desktop and select New > Shortcut. Type services.msc in “Type the location of the item” and hit next. Finally type any name such as “Services” (without quotes of course) and hit finish. You now have a shortcut of services in vista as well!

  8. raphoenix

    @olad
    Thank You for the link.
    A wonderful site with Great Tools and also some of the most Beautiful Pictures on the net.

  9. Brian

    That is a great way to remove them from the list.
    One other thing is needed in case you find you want a deleted item back:
    How to reinstall.

    Thanks,

    BRIAN

  10. SamCPP

    Brian:
    Just do “sc create servicename”. To see how to use it, go to a command prompt and type “sc create /?” and it will give more info.

  11. jd2066

    @SamCPP: That would work if you knew the exact service parameters of the one that was deleted but after deleting one there is no way to know that without checking out another machine.
    @all: The above is one reason why I would recommend NOT deleting a service. It’s hard if not impossible to get it back if you need it again.

  12. SamCPP

    @jd2066
    True – unless you know what you are doing, highly recommend not deleting a service but instead DISABLE it.

  13. The Geek

    I completely agree with you guys, deleting a service isn’t usually recommended… the purpose of this article is simply to inform.

    I added a stronger warning at the end of the article now.

  14. Brian

    Thanks for clarifying how hard it is to reinstall; it probably saved me from some real problems.

    BRIAN

  15. Vilhelm

    I would never delete a service. I recommend to sort out the services in 3 groups: automatic, disabled and manual by clicking one og two times at the column “Startup Time”.

  16. Vilhelm

    I apologize: Click at the column “Startup Type”.

  17. mike

    You can also get to Services thru Task Manager, in the Services tab. At the bottom of that page, click the UAC button.

  18. Malc

    If you want to be able to reinstall the service, and you’re confident with Regedit this is what I’ve done in the past:

    Open regedit and browse to the following key
    ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services’

    Find the service you want to delete, right click it and export to a .reg file. Give it a sensible name and remember where you save it. Then delete the key, and reboot.

    If it works – that’s great. If not you can double click the file to reinstall the service to the registry.

    ** Messing with the registry can ruin your whole day. If anything above doesn’t make sense to you right now then you probably shouldn’t try this.**

  19. Brian

    Malc, thaks for that great tip!
    Now I am back it the game.
    It sure helpS to know exactly where in the registry the Service entries are located.
    From there it is sure easy to back up and reinstall an entryif needed.

    Thanks again.

    BRIAN

  20. Malc

    You’re welcome! I found that tip on a google search myself – and it worked so I shared. Always good to spread the knowledge :)
    Malc

  21. Nimesh

    That was too simple and effective.

    Thanks.

  22. Nasar

    This helped me to remove the Apache & MySql from my Vista Service list, just got an installation error.

    Thanks

  23. Richard

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  24. Nikki

    Just wanted to say thanks for this! Was able to delete an annoying service left by the removal of Itunes! :D

  25. just some guy

    Hey, thanks this really helped me.. damn programs that don’t uninstall properly…

    Cheers again
    JSG

  26. her by

    how do I delete windows narrator ?

  27. seanl

    thank you very much worked a charm

  28. Me

    Thank you!

  29. Kamal

    Thanks, it helped me.

  30. Sylvia

    I once unistalled all of my services

  31. harry

    Thanks a lot . It works fine.

  32. _Jon

    Yeah, it helped me delete MySQL after a botched install.
    Thanks!

  33. Paul

    thanks worked 100%

  34. Ray

    Thanks, just what I was looking for… so easy when you know how :)

  35. Luis

    Hi Malc, thaks for that great tip!
    Works like a charm!
    I needed to remove Apache as a service after Nusphere leftover un-installation.
    Thanks

  36. Apps

    Really Really helpful trick..thanku sooo much

  37. Keivz

    This helped me out a bunch. The Ps3 media server started acting up after I added it as a service. It stayed despite an uninstall. Now I’ve removed the service and everything is back to the way it should be. Thanks!

  38. Donnie

    The way I’ve always gotten to Services is through the “Computer Management” console, just by right-clicking “My Computer” or “Computer” from the Start Menu and selecting “Manage”… it works on all Windows platforms and you get the services, device manager, event logs, etc. in one management console…

  39. luis

    If you get “Access denied”, try running the cmd.exe as Administrator.

    On WIn7:
    Click “Start”, Type “cmd”. You’ll see cmd.exe appear on top of the menu.
    Right-click on cmd.exe and choose “Run as Administrator”.
    Then use the command explained in this article.
    Hope this helps anyone

  40. Tinto Tech

    For those worried about deleting a service, yes it’s dangerous, but there are times when it’s a valid thing to do.

    Right now, there are a large number of cold calling scams circulating here in the UK. I have several clients called by someone “from Microsoft”, who if you let them proceed to install Logmein, or Ammyy remote admin services, plus various trojans etc and charge you £175 to the pleasure. Of course Logmein and Ammyy are legitimate, but in these cases they are used for to take control of and poison the machines.

    Not good for the client and potentially dangerous to leave the service disabled. In these specific circumstances I opt to delete the rogue service rather than just disable. I find it protects better against re-activation of the service during the cleanup process.

    Be careful if you do delete a service – if in any doubt disable, but there are times when it’s a valid thing to do

  41. vijay

    thanks a lot for such a useful article..by going through this article only i successfully deleted unwanted service

  42. Arjohn Poquiz

    Thanks! it works in my XP…Good..

  43. Ant

    Thanks. Worked fine for me.

  44. WebHybrid

    Kudos from me. Good instructions.

  45. Bryan

    Thank you very much! Uninstalled a program and it left the service.. What a pain. Your instructions worked perfectly.

  46. Naresh

    Thank you very much. Its nice link and it helped me.

  47. reloaded90

    thanks you!..

  48. Saravanavignesh R

    It Really works. Great!!! and thank howtogeek team. :) :)

  49. Sean

    anyone know how to re-install the print spooler service on a server 2008 machine?

  50. faki

    @the geek thanks man, how do you know so much?

  51. venkat

    Thanks

  52. Omar

    Thnx alot , that worked fine with me

  53. shiney

    Really nice article

  54. OMA

    Thanks for this tip! I could finally get rid of a MySQL service that didn’t want to be uninstalled from the XAMPP control panel.

  55. Dave

    Thank you for this! I’ve been trying to get XAMPP installed on Vista and for some reason previously installed Apache and MySQL services were preventing it from running correctly. I disabled those services but was still getting nowhere. Now I’m good to go!

  56. Chris

    Hey Malc…

    Thank you 4 t tip… Its just awesome…

  57. pimsainnum

    I can’t delete.

    Return error:
    [SC] OpenService FAILED 1060:

  58. jake

    hi im trying to delte software protection but it says it isnt a service?

  59. Bhim

    Hi,

    Many thanks for your valuable tips. I had to delete APC UPS services which was disabled. I contaced to APC technical to delete it. They were unable to do it. Big credit to you. thanks

    Bhim

  60. Satya

    It works. Thanks

  61. oscars

    hey if you delete a service that was installed with a program, will it be reinstalled if you reinstall the program?

  62. sondad

    thanks helped me delete malware service

  63. Lauren

    I’m trying to delete McAfee Framework service… I followed the instructions but it says that access is denied.

  64. james

    Thanks.. Works perfectly

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