Command Prompt open on Windows 11
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek
To delete a service on Windows, identify the service in the Services utility. Then open up PowerShell or Command Prompt as administrator and run "sc delete ServiceName" to delete the service.

If you are a fan of tweaking your system and disabling services, you might find that over time your Windows Services list becomes large and unwieldy. It’s easy enough to remove a Windows service using the Command Prompt or PowerShell on Windows 10 or Windows 11 but be careful. You could break something important.

Should You Delete a Windows Service?

No, you should not delete a Windows service—not unless you know exactly what you’re doing and you have a very good reason. When you delete a service, it’s gone—and services can be a real pain to get back. We really don’t recommend deleting services at all, unless you’re dealing with a very particular situation like cleaning up after a program uninstalled improperly or rooting out a malware infestation.

Warning: If you are going to delete a service, always try to find the most recent details about what that service does before you delete it. The exact purpose of any given service can change between versions of Windows, and even between major releases of the same version of the operating system. Take CTFMon and the associated service for example. On Windows 10 (and earlier) you could disable it and only experience minor inconvenience. However, on Windows 11, removing it would probably render your computer unusable.

Typically, just disabling a service is plenty, especially if all you’re really trying to do is tweak your system performance (which probably won’t work as well as you might hope, anyway).  That said, if you do need to delete a service, you just need to find the actual name of that service and then issue a single command from the Command Prompt.

The techniques we’re covering here should work in pretty much any version of Windows—from XP all the way up through Windows 11.

RELATED: Should You Disable Windows Services to Speed Up Your PC?

Find the Name of the Service You Want to Delete

The first thing you’ll need to do is identify the full name of the service you want to delete. In our example, we’re using the RetailDemo service—a curious service that activates a hidden command that sets Windows into a retail service mode (and pretty much erases all personal docs and resets your PC to it’s default state), so it’s actually a good example of a service you might not want around.

Click Start, type “services” into the search box, and then click the “Services” result.

Launch the "Services" utility from the Start Menu.

In the “Services” window, scroll down and find the service you’re after. Right-click the service and choose the “Properties” option.

In the service’s properties window, copy (or write down) the text to the right of the “Service name” entry.

Note the value in the "Service Name" field.

When you have the service’s name, you can go ahead and close the properties window and the “Services” window.

Delete the Service

Once you have the name of the service, you need to open up PowerShell or Command Prompt with administrative privileges to delete the service.

Note: If you’re using Windows 11, you can just launch Windows Terminal as admin instead.

Click the Start button, then search for “PowerShell” or “Command Prompt.” Right-click either shortcut and select “Run as Administrator,” or click the “Run as Administrator” option at the right side of the start menu.

To delete the service, use the sc command with the following syntax in Command Prompt or PowerShell:

sc delete ServiceName

So, to delete the “RetailDemo” service we’re using in our example, we’d type the following text, and then hit Enter:

sc delete RetailDemo

PowerShell when a service has successfully been deleted.

Note: If the service you’re deleting has any spaces in the name, you’ll have to enclose the name in quotes when you type the command.

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

Services Window with the example service removed.

Deleting a service in Windows is pretty easy, but we’d again like to caution you to think long and hard before deleting a service, because it’s very difficult to get them back once they’re gone.

Profile Photo for Walter Glenn Walter Glenn
Walter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek and its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He's authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O'Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He's also written hundreds of white papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years.
Read Full Bio »
Profile Photo for Nick Lewis Nick Lewis
Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
Read Full Bio »