How to Delete a Service which is Leftover in Windows?

Services MMC

Have you come across a situation where uninstalling a software leaves its Service or driver entries in the registry, and Windows tries to load them at every boot, fails and logs the error to the System Event log at every startup? Here is how to delete a service which is leftover in Windows. Instructions apply to Windows XP through Windows 10.

Before proceeding further, create a System Restore point and/or a complete Registry backup.

View Dependents of a Service

When you remove a service, others that depend upon the service would fail to start, returning error "System error 1075 has occurred. The dependency service does not exist or has been marked for deletion.". So, it’s advisable to first check if there are any dependents.

You can check that in Services MMC by double-clicking on the item you’re going to delete and clicking the Dependencies tab. The list of components that depend on that service are shown below. Here is an example, where “Fax” depends on “Print Spooler” to start.

Delete unwanted services

While most third-party services don’t have any dependents, some do. It’s always advisable to take a look at this tab before clearing the item.

Another way to verify the dependents is to run this command from a Command Prompt window. (example, Print Spooler)

sc enumdepend spooler

Delete unwanted services

Delete a Service in Windows

Once you find that no dependents exist for a service, you can proceed to deleting the leftover item using once of the following methods. Method #1 is probably the easiest of all the three methods.

Method 1: Using Autoruns

Autoruns is a must-have tool which helps you manage Windows startup, services, drivers, Winsock providers, Internet Explorer add-ons, Shell extensions and much more.

Download Autoruns and run it. From the Options tab, tick Hide Microsoft Entries, so that only the third-party entries are listed. Press F5 to refresh the listing. Click the Services tab, from where you can remove unwanted or leftover items.

Delete unwanted services

Method 2: Using the SC.EXE command

The SC command-line tool in Windows can be used to create, edit or delete Services. To delete a service, use the following command-line syntax from elevated Command Prompt window:

sc delete serviceshortnamename

Where serviceshortname refers the short name of the service, instead of its display name. To find the short name, open Services MMC and double-click a service.

Example 1: Short name for Automatic Updates is wuauserv, and display name is Automatic Updates.

Example 2: Google Update Service (gupdate) is the display name, and gupdate is the shortname

Delete unwanted services

Another way to find the short-name of a service is using this command-line:

sc getkeyname "service display name"

which in this example is:

sc getkeyname "Google Update Service (gupdate)"

delete a service which is leftover

Once the service short name is obtained using any of the above methods, use this command to remove it:

sc delete gupdate

This removes the Google Update service.

Method 3: Using the Registry Editor

To manually remove a service from the registry, use these steps:

Start Regedit.exe and navigate to the following branch:

delete a service using registry editor
Services registry key.

Each sub-key under the above registry key represents a driver or a Service. The key name is also the short name of the service. Also, you should be able to identify the entry easily by looking at the DisplayName and ImagePath values in the right-pane in the Registry Editor.

Find the entry you want to delete, right-click the appropriate key, and choose Delete. Exit the Registry Editor.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

11 thoughts on “How to Delete a Service which is Leftover in Windows?

  1. SC worked fine in removing the MySQL service reference after I uninstalled xampp.


  2. Thanks. Great instructions. I used the elevated command prompt method.

    Removed the Dock Login Service that came with Dell Dock, because it wasn’t removed with the uninstaller. (Win 7 64 pro)

    If you want a dock, get a Mac

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