How To Uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP

There a few different ways of uninstalling Service Pack 3 for Windows XP and in this post I will describe how perform the necessary steps.

NOTE

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Method One – Use "Add or Remove Programs" Applet

Using the Add or Remove Programs applet is the most common way to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type control appwiz.cpl in the Run dialog box to open the Add or Remove Programs applet.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. The Add or Remove Programs applet will open, locate and select Windows XP Service Pack 3, refer to image below.

  5. Click Remove to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  6. Click Next in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to start uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Refer to image below.

  7. Click Finish in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to reboot and complete the uninstall of Service Pack 3.

Method Two – Use the Service Pack 3 Uninstall Command

Using the Service Pack 3 uninstall command is exactly like using Add or Remove Programs applet to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP but you are entering the uninstall command in the Run dialog box.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe in the Run dialog box to start the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

    NOTE

    You may need to show hidden files and folders to see the $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder. For more information on how to show hidden files and folders, see "Showing Hidden Files and Folders in Windows XP".

     

  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. When the Software Update Removal Wizard window open then click Next. Refer to image below.

  5. Click Remove to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  6. Click Next in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to start uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Refer to image below.

  7. Click Finish in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to reboot and complete the uninstall of Service Pack 3.

Method Three – Use Windows XP System Restore

Using the Windows XP System Restore would be the last resort to try to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. System Restore will only work if the restore point for Service Pack 3 has not been purged from the system. Restore points are purge after 90 days of the restore point or when System Restore space is at its maximum resulting in the oldest restore point being purge for the new restore point.

  1. Click Start and open System Restore (All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore).
  2. Select Restore my computer to an earlier time and click Next to select a restore point.
  3. Locate and select the entry for Windows XP Service 3.

    NOTE

    If you used Windows Update or Automatic Updates then the restore point is named Software Distribution Service 3.0.

     

  4. When the restore point has been selected then click Next.
  5. Click Next to start the system restore process.

    NOTE

    When System Restore completes then your computer will restart.

     

  6. When the computer has restarted then System Restore will display a successful or unsuccessful message. Refer to image below.

Method Four – Use Windows XP System Restore at a Command Prompt

Using the Windows XP System Restore would be the last resort to try to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. System Restore will only work if the restore point for Service Pack 3 has not been purged from the system. Restore points are purge after 90 days of the restore point or when System Restore space is at its maximum resulting in the oldest restore point being purge for the new restore point.

  1. Start you computer, press F8 to select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
  2. After logging into Windows XP with an account that Administrative privileges, a Command Prompt window should open.
  3. Type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe to open System Restore.
  4. Select Restore my computer to an earlier time and click Next to select a restore point.
  5. Locate and select the entry for Windows XP Service 3.

    NOTE

    If you used Windows Update or Automatic Updates then the restore point is named Software Distribution Service 3.0.

     

  6. When the restore point has been selected then click Next.
  7. Click Next to start the system restore process.

    NOTE

    When System Restore completes then your computer will restart.

     

  8. When the computer has restarted then System Restore will display a successful or unsuccessful message. Refer to Image below.

Method Five – Use Windows XP Recovery Console

Using the Windows XP Recovery Console is a good solution to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP when your computer will boot or start correctly after you have installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. You will need your Windows XP installation CD and have your BIOS to boot from the CD first. Refer to your computer manual on how to set the Boot device and priority.

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD into your CD Drive and boot from the Windows XP CD.
  2. Press R to enter into the Recovery Console, refer to image below.

  3. Select the Windows installation to use the Recovery Console. Refer to image below.

  4. Type the administrative password.

    NOTE

    For most users the administrative password is blank (nothing). Simply press ENTER on the keyboard.

     

  5. At the prompt, type chdir $NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst.
  6. Type batch spuninst.txt to start the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  7. When the uninstall process has completed then remove the Windows XP CD from the CD drive.
  8. Type EXIT to restart the computer and complete the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  9. If the computer boots or starts correctly then remove Service Pack 3 via Add or Remove Programs to completely remove Service Pack 3 for Windows XP . Refer to ‘Method 1 – Use "Add or Remove Programs" Applet‘ for detailed instructions.

Method Six – Use BartPE Recovery CD

Using the BartPE Recovery CD is a good solution to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP when your computer will not boot or start correctly after you have installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. You will need to create a BartPE Recovery CD and have your BIOS to boot from the CD first. Refer to your computer manual on how to set the Boot device and priority. Please visit "Bart’s Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD" to learn about how to create your own BartPE Recovery CD with your Windows XP CD.

  1. Insert your BartPE Recovery CD into your CD Drive and boot from the BartPE Recovery CD.
  2. Click Go to select A43 File Management Utility (Programs > A43 Management File Utility).
  3. Navigate to C:\Windows\%NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst.
  4. Rename spuninst.txt to spuninst.bat.
  5. Click Go to select Command Prompt (CMD).
  6. Type C:\Windows\%NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.bat to start the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  7. Rename spuninst.bat back to spuninst.txt.
  8. When the uninstall process has completed then remove the BartPE Recovery CD from the CD drive.
  9. Restart the computer and complete the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  10. If the computer boots or starts correctly then remove Service Pack 3 via Add or Remove Programs to completely remove Service Pack 3 for Windows XP . Refer to ‘Method 1 – Use "Add or Remove Programs" Applet‘ for detailed instructions.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Editions, 32-bit
Related Articles

Version 1.2
Edited: May 13, 2012

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3 Responses to How To Uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP

  1. Pingback: Microsoft Released Windows XP Service Pack 3 – May 6, 2008 « BillJr's Space

  2. Pingback: "Access Denied" When Installing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP « BillJr's Space

  3. I can’t uninstall sp3 , i tried all these method.

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