How to Delete / Uninstall an MS SQL Instance

So in case you’re like me and assumed you’d do this through the SQL Server Management Studio interface, you’re unfortunately wrong.  This is actually accomplished through the far less logical process of “Uninstalling a Program”.  I’ll help you through the steps here.

Go to your Control Panel, and under Programs and Features, find your SQL Server Installation.


Choose “Remove”.


A verification step will start up with the wizard.


Next, select your SQL instance.


Only choose the services associated with that particular instance.


Yet another verification Step.


Oh, and in case you weren’t yet convinced, here’s another verification step.


And all went well.


Voila, you’re all done!

10 responses to “How to Delete / Uninstall an MS SQL Instance

  1. How does one uninstall SQL 2012 when the Uninstall on Programs and Features doesn’t do anything? I have also tried
    > setup.exe /ACTION=uninstall
    this doesn’t work either for me.
    I need a brute force method, deleting files, editing the registry, and whatever else.


      1. What about a stuck instance that won’t remove with the uninstaller? Happens all the time.

  2. This is really a cool and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I found this post very helpful because everyone needs to know how to delete SQL instances. It can be uninstalled from control panel programs and features. You have to choose the SQL server from which you want to delete the instance and then you can choose the instance and remove it from the server.

  4. Is there another way to remove a single instance, possibly through the registry? There’s some situations when the installer won’t uninstall and just hangs when you attempt to remove an instance, like Joe Elsaesser’s comment above. Say I have the max number of instances installed, when the installer tries to query all the instances it generates an error that there’s too many instances and just hangs. So you can’t uninstall any instances if there’s too many instances. It’s a bug I assume. But is there a way to brute force delete from the registry without crashing the browser service for the other instances?

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