Microsoft service packs are always a dice role, particularly on older computers that might already be buckling under the pressure of XP’s appetite for system resources. Or it may be that you experience problems after the upgrade, as the service pack makes some significant changes to the original OS with unpredictable results. If you find for some reason that you need to roll back from an upgrade to Service Pack 2, Microsoft has fortunately provided a handful of ways to accomplish this easily.
You might recognize Add/Remove Programs as the go-to utility for removing old software you don’t use or want anymore. It also keeps track of any updates you make to Windows, and consequently also serves as the utility for rolling back hotfixes and service packs.
Click Start and on the menu and choose Control Panel
From the Control Panel, choose Add/Remove Programs
At the top of the Add or Remove Programs dialog box, check Show Updates
Find Window XP Service Pack 2 and choose Remove
Manually Running the Uninstall
Occasionally it’s necessary to run the uninstall from the command prompt. If the service pack has truly made a mess of your computer, you might find this is your only choice. First you’ll have to boot up to Safe Mode or to the command prompt. As your computer boots, hit F8 just before getting to the Windows boot up screen, and then choose the appropriate option.
Click Start and choose Run if you are in Safe Mode. In the Run dialog box type “c:windows$NtServicePackUninstall$spuninstspuninst.exe” and then click OK. If you are at the command prompt, you can simply type the above to run the wizard.
This will start the uninstall wizard for SP2. Click through and follow the instructions to uninstall the service pack.
Believe it or not, one easy option is to use the built-in System Restore utility to roll back to a restore point just previous to your installing the service pack. System Restore points are created periodically by Windows to provide you with a way of reverting back to settings present at the time the point was created. If you use your computer often, then it’s highly likely there will be a restore point from just prior to loading Service Pack 2. The System Restore utility can be started from the Help screen.
Click the Start button and choose Help and Support from the menu.
On the right hand side of the Help screen, choose “Undo changes to your computer with System Restore”
Choose “Restore my computer to an earlier time” and click Next
Click on a date from the Calendar that would be immediately before installing Service Pack 2. Follow additional instructions
Windows Service Pack 2 has a lot of helpful updates and is overall fairly stable. But if it’s causing you problems, then one of the above solutions should get you back on the path of happy, hassle-free computing!