Uninstall / Remove Windows XP Service Pack 3 – Working Procedure

by Rohit Khurana on April 30, 2009

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Trouble:

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is one the most important update for Windows XP, but it may happen that after installing Windows XP service pack 3 some of the hardware devices may not work properly. In that case you would need to uninstall Windows XP SP3 from your computer.

 

We had already got some mails from readers who want a working step by step procedure to remove or uninstall Windows XP service pack 3 or SP3 from their computers. Once you have Windows XP service pack 3 installed there can be more than one method to remove it.

 

Lets discuss all these methods to remove Windows XP service pack 3 or Windows  XP SP3

Fix:

These are the methods to remove / delete / uninstall XP service pack 3 or SP 3

 

Method 1: Remove SP3 from add / remove programs

1. Open Start Menu >> Run, type appwiz.cpl and press Enter

2. Click to select the show updates check box

3. Locate Windows XP Service Pack 3 and click remove

4. click Finish after complete removal and to restart your computer

 

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Method 2: Remove SP3 with the hidden $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder

1. Open Start Menu >> Run, type c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe and press Enter

2. This will start the windows XP service pack 3 removal wizard and click Next

3. Follow the instructions on the screen to remove windows service pack 3

 

Method 3: Remove SP3 with Default system restore

Note: Make sure you have restarted your computer at least once after installing windows service pack 3 only then you can use system restore to uninstall service pack 3

 

1. Open Start Menu >> Run, type  “%systemroot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe” and press Enter

2. This will start up the system restore to restore your computer to an earlier time and click Next

3. Click Restore My Computer To An Earlier Time and then click next

4. Click the date on  or before which you had installed windows XP service pack 3 and then click Installed Window XP Service Pack 3 and the restore point box

5. Follow the instructions in the upcoming wizard and remove sp3 from by restoring to the point created at the time of installation of service pack 3 for windows XP.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

bapi saha June 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Dear Sir,

If my SP is installed with an intrigrated winXP cd that time the installed SP is not shown in control panel. So, how can I remove it from my system?

Paul Muckenfuss July 19, 2009 at 1:57 am

Hi, I tried method 2 and I got a message saying that the location is unavailable and the information might be moved to a new location.

Faizan Siddiqui March 24, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Hi all,

SP3 can be removed only if it was separately installed or upgraded from SP1 or SP2. Newly purchased CD contains Win XP with SP3, hence can not be removed also the license for Win XP SP3 will not work on Win XP SP2.

Kind regards,

shakir June 28, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I upgraded my Windows From SP2 to Sp3, and now it does not detect flash player.

shakir June 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I upgraded my Windows From SP2 to Sp3, and now it does not detect flash player. when i open youtube or any other website that requires Flashplayer to play videos. It prompts me to download Flash player. Even after downloading flasplayer it does not detect it and again prompts me to download flashplayer.

anudeep July 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm

i cannot remove my service pack 3 updater
and it has corrupted my windows default themes so i m facing prob with the display in the desktop
so plz plz help me to remove that shit and make my computer to get back its look

jerboa August 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm

None of the above works. All these methods end with “Cannot find specified file, SP3 has not been removed”

Dora September 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm

it has corrupted my windows theme,so i cant open up the start button or anything else

Mischelle40 November 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I have had problems ever since upgrading to SP3. Should have never done it. I run Windows XP Professional. I wanted to remove Windows 8, but I understand I cannot if I installed SP3. So, I need to uninstall SP3, but no matter which method I try, it starts the process, then gives me a “Handle is Invalid” error. I have to click to close and it says “the was not unistalled” I just want SP3 and Windows 8 off this computer. Does anyone know how to get that to work?

Colingar December 15, 2010 at 8:59 am

My HP All-in-one deskjet software stopped working after I installed SP3 and now I can’t uninstall SP3 or use system restore as it fails if I try to go back to before the SP3 install.
I know a windows repair will probably get rid of SP3, but as a lot of you will know, a repair usually causes some other problems to pop up.
Haven’t given up yet on uninstalling SP3, but up to now, have tried umpteen different ways to get rid of it without success. Keep getting the error, “couldn’t find the file specified” Would help like, if it would tell you what this mysterious file was!

Rohit December 15, 2010 at 11:47 am

@Colingar
Try to reinstall the HP drivers rather than uninstalling SP3

Lestrad February 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I installed SP3 and the USB ports on the front of my computer stopped working. I tried to uninstall it (about five hours later) and got the “couldn’t find the file specified” and “SP3 was not uninstalled” error messages mentioned above. I looked here – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950249 – and tried to roll back to a restore point as suggested in Method 3, since I had tried the first two methods (which in fact are the same – both run spunist.exe). I had taken care to create a restore point manually just before installing, but found it had disappeared. Only two restore were points available, dating from just before the installation, but they referred not to SP3 but to two security updates I don’t even remember installing. In any case, neither of them worked – I got a “System was not restored” message.
Then I tried Method 4, using the Recovery Console (running spuninst.txt as a batch file). This executed back to a command prompt and I followed the rest of the instructions. But when I ran spuninst.exe again as instructed in Point 10 I got the same results – “couldn’t find the file specified” and “SP3 was not uninstalled.”
While searching around for a solution, I got a “this device could run faster on a USB 2.0 port” error. Now, this is the error I was getting under SP2 and that SP3 was supposed to cure. Out of curiosity, I tried using the front USB ports again and they worked. So I suspect that SP3 was at least partially uninstalled. Yet System Info says I’m still running SP3.
We can conclude that Method 3 (Recovery Console) works to some extent, but that the instructions are garbled. In searching around, I found this – http://social.technet.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/itproxpsp/thread/6e79afe9-3a91-44a3-bdc9-5f351f3f4aaa/ (scroll down to “To Remove SP3 from Recovery Console” by Naushad Unni). Microsoft Support’s instructions are very similar – in fact they seem to have copied Naushad Unni’s instructions (his predate theirs), but they seem to have tacked on the part about going back and re-trying one of the first three methods, resulting in a garbled procedure whereas his is clear.
To sum up, I would not install SP3. In my case, it replaced occasional annoying USB error messages with USB ports that didn’t work at all. And the uninstall routine failed despite the fact that ran it the same day I installed it, without having touched any file or folder. Not only that, but XP destroyed the restore point I created just before installation (and not becasue of low disk space; I have over 20 GB free on the drive) and the restore points XP created did not work. I find the fact that SP3 can’t create an uninstall routine that will work five hours after the install without the system having been altered incredible – not to mention the fact that it causes USB ports to malfunction. But then my experience with Microsoft has gotten me used to situations like this. The thrust of their efforts is not to see to it that the products work properly, but to keep us paying them money. They shouldn’t be surprised that people pirate their products and don’t want to pay for this kind of support.

Lestrad February 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Link to the proper instructions for uninstalling XP SP3 from the Recovery Console:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/itproxpsp/thread/6e79afe9-3a91-44a3-bdc9-5f351f3f4aaa/ (scroll down to “To Remove SP3 from Recovery Console” by Naushad Unni).

(Note: This method seems to un-break what SP3 broke, but my computer still seems to think it’s running SP3.)

Ramesh September 9, 2011 at 12:01 am

I upgraded my Windows From SP2 to Sp3, and now it does not detect flash player. when i open youtube or any other website that requires Flashplayer to play videos. It prompts me to download Flash player. Even after downloading flasplayer it does not detect it and again prompts me to download flashplayer.

GOUTAM December 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm

i have uninstalled xp sp2… but when i start my pc its still showing earlier version of windows ..how can remove it … ??

Jing July 17, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thanks man!!!!

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