How to Delete a Service in Windows 7, Vista, or XP

You may need to delete a service when fighting a malware attack

A delete button close up picture of a keyboard

Filograph/Getty Images

Malware often installs itself as a Windows service in order to load when Windows starts. This allows the malware to run and control designated functions without requiring user interaction. Sometimes, anti-virus software removes the malware but leaves the service settings behind. Whether you are cleaning up after an anti-virus removal or attempting to remove the malware manually, knowing how to delete a service in Windows 7, Vista, or XP can help.

Delete Service You Suspect Contained Malware

The process of deleting a service that you suspect was used to infect your computer with malware is similar in Windows 7, Vista, and XP:

  1. Open the Control Panel by clicking the Start button and selecting Control Panel. (In Classic View, the steps are Start > Settings > Control Panel.)
  2. XP users select Performance and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Services.
    1. Windows 7 and Vista users select Systems and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Services.
    2. Classic View users select Administrative Tools > Services.
  3. Locate the service you want to delete, right-click the service name, and choose Properties. If the service is still running, select Stop. Highlight the service name, right-click, and select Copy. This copies the service name to the clipboard. Click OK to close the Properties dialog.
  4. Open a command prompt. Vista and Windows 7 users need to open a command prompt with administrative privileges. To do this, click Start, right-click Control Panel, and choose Open as Administrator. Windows XP users simply need to click Start > Control Panel.
  5. Type sc delete. Then, right-click and choose Paste to enter the service name. If the service name contains spaces, you need to place quotations marks around the name. Examples without and with a space in the name are:
    sc delete SERVICENAME
    sc delete "SERVICE NAME"
  1. Press Enter to execute the command and delete the service. To exit the command prompt, type exit and press Enter.