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

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

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 can help.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Delete the Service You Suspect Contains Malware

The process of deleting a service that you suspect was used to infect your computer with malware is similar in all versions of Windows.

  1. Screenshot of Control Panel in Start menu search results
  2. In Windows 10 or Windows 8, select System and Security > Administrative Tools > Services.

    Windows 7 and Vista users select Systems and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Services.

    XP users select Performance and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Services.

    Screenshot of Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools
  3. Locate the service you want to delete, right-click the service name, and choose Properties. The Properties dialog box for that service will open.

    Screenshot of right-click menu in Services
  4. 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.

    Screenshot of service Properties dialog box
  5. Screenshot of Administrator Command Prompt
  6. 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"
    Screenshot of
  7. Press Enter to execute the command and delete the service. To exit the command prompt, type exit and press Enter.