peter daniels on Fri, 08 Oct 2010 21:03:09

There are thousands of forum posts related to uninstalling SQL Server that provide varied information.  Most refer to the BOL article, which is useless in most error situations.  Can anyone provide true, complete instructions for removing all SQL Server components from a machine?  I'm not sure why there isn't a robust MS-provided utility for this, but I'll be relieved just to have a manual method.  I understand that there will be registry hacks, security group mods, folder deletions/renames from god knows how many places, and probably a cauldron of frog legs and shaken babies.  Just please don't make me cruise these endless seas of bogus forum posts any longer.  I am thirsty and seasick.

Thank you,


PS My Environment:

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

SQL Server 2008 R2 (I think some of my old SQL 2008 "plain" install may still reside as well) Developer Edition - All components

Yes, I have VS 2010, which prbly caused the SQLExpress BS to hork my origh install in the first place.  I yearn for the day when VS and SQL teams kiss and make up.


Tom Li - MSFT on Mon, 11 Oct 2010 12:43:01

Hi peter daniels,


Did you encounter any issue during uninstalling?

If you are experiencing any issue during uninstalling, please provide us more information.


If anything is unclear, please let me know.

peter daniels on Tue, 12 Oct 2010 17:33:10

Yes, I experienced issues when uninstalling.  And then more issues when trying to reinstall.  What is unclear is "HOW TO MANUALLY, COMPLETELY UNINSTALL SQL Server 2008 and 2008R2".  There are online docs for 2000 and 2005, but the 2008/R2 BOL is insufficient and incomplete.

Tom Li - MSFT on Thu, 14 Oct 2010 02:16:08

Hi peter,

For further investigation, could you please provide us the error messages logged into the setup log files which are located in the %Program files%\Microsoft SQL server\100\Setup bootstrap\Log\ folder by sending mail to _sqltnsp_at_microsoft_dot_com_(please replace dot with dot sign) with the following format:
Subject: MSDN/TechNet forum question: <Thread Title>
Attachments: <files>
Hi Tom,
<Additional information>

If anything is unclear, please let me know.

How to View and Read SQL Server Setup Log Files

peter daniels on Thu, 14 Oct 2010 03:36:37

Sweet Jesus, I do not want my setup logs analyzed.  I just want manual uninstall instructions like the 2005 version here -

The 2008 version of the uninstall instructions is INCOMPLETE -

The 2008 R2 version of the uninstall instructions is ALSO INCOMPLETE -

Thank you,



Vijay Sirohi on Thu, 14 Oct 2010 04:33:18

From -

** We recommend that you use Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel to uninstall SQL Server.**

Surgical removal of windows installer components (sql 2005/2008/r2) is not recomended. If you want to go that way- KB article 909967 is applicable to sql 2008 as well.

thanks- Vijay

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

peter daniels on Thu, 14 Oct 2010 04:52:17

I tried to use "Add or Remove Programs" first.  It failed to completely remove the SQL Server components.  Thus I was left in no-mans-land.

I will use the 2005 manual uninstall instructions, but you may want to update the 2008 instructions to point to them if they are in fact valid for 2008/R2.  I imagine there are some 2008 nuances that perhaps are missing, but I will give it a whirl anyway.  What do I have to lose at this point, anyway - my instance is dead.  I'm just glad this wasn't a production server. 

Regardless, thank you for your time and effort.



M Leary on Sun, 03 Jul 2011 15:06:17

The given key was not present in the directory..


Error given when:

Uninstalling from Control Panel

Repairing from Control Panel with extracted SQLEXPR_x64_ENU directory (SQL 2008 Expres 64 bit)

Installing from package SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.EXE


I do not think there is anyone who can troubleshoot this error so far. None of the answers are worth a penny!


Give exact steps to either repair it or permanently delete the installation and ALL Registry, documents, folders, shortcuts in the Windows Seven 64 bit system.

Double Dare:

Show how to do it by Microsoft support.


M. Leary

Systems Analyst

Tom Groszko on Sun, 03 Jul 2011 18:19:13

Format your drive and reinstall everything but SQL server. That is the only sure way that I have found.

UncleJeff Johnson on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 19:55:57

  This solution does not work!

  When I try to remove MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Support Setup files via the Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel, I receive a warning message (# 26003) stating that this program cannot be uninstalled, because four other SQL Server 2008 R2 files are still INstalled.  Yet a search for these files yeilds no results. 

 Please provide any assistance you can...

 Thanks, J2  

UncleJeff Johnson on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 19:58:25

 I find the same problem ~ plenty of articles about uninstalling Servers 2000, 2005 and even some on 2008 ~ but nothing on uninstalling 2008/R2

 Did you ever get any assistance with this?

UncleJeff Johnson on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 20:00:17

  This solution does not work! 

 See my earlier post!

peter daniels on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 20:03:24

I never got a sound answer on this.  And, to be honest, I can't recall exaclty how I cleaned up the mess.  If my failing memory serves me, I did require some registry hacks and manual file system cleanup.




UncleJeff Johnson on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 20:03:58

 I understand, but I had just done that! 

 Upon reloading XP Home/SP3, somehow SQL Server 2008/R2 was installed also.   I simply don't have another 3 days to go thru all the steps needed to format my drive and re-install all other programs.  

 Any other ideas, please?



peter daniels on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 20:10:00

I'm sorry - I can't help you.  You may want to put in a support call to MS. I'm just another developer like you. :)

Gshepard on Fri, 26 Oct 2012 03:54:52

Amen to this   "I'm not sure why there isn't a robust MS-provided utility for this, but I'll be relieved just to have a manual method.  What is it with MS Products, that once there installed, the roll-back process is awful :-(

Gshepard on Fri, 26 Oct 2012 03:57:52

That will not work as well! I did that, when I went to reinstall SQL Server, I had to use another path, now any patch I apply is tuck on the old instance, which is deeply embedded in the registry! Good Lord, dose anyone think this is a support nightmare or what?

Charles A_ on Fri, 20 Sep 2013 19:05:15

As with most Microsoft applications you'll need to re-install the operating system and start over. They do a TERRIBLE job of uninstall.

Ignacio Vales on Tue, 03 Dec 2013 10:36:57

For my experience, Visual Studio 2010 + Microsoft Web Installer = Nightmare

It's incredible that Microsoft doesn't provide a scalable way to install and uninstall packages. Each version, each month, each update is worse.

A frustrated developer.

len089x on Sat, 22 Aug 2015 18:37:36

has anybody found an answer to the reinstall problems for any Sql servers, 2005, 2008, 2008 r2, etc?

len089x on Sat, 22 Aug 2015 18:43:00

My solution would be to forget about Microsoft Sql Servers, and use MICROSOFT ACCESS 2000. it works, easy to install

and move sql files. Heck of a lot better than reinstalling Microsoft Sql Servers, again and again and finding missing