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How can SQL Server 2005 Instances be manually removed (if uninstall does not clean them up)?

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I believe this may happened due to installation I received of VS2005 which includes MSSQLEXPRESS 2005 without compatibility fixes for Vista (or Windows 7 in my case). – Danny Mar 15 '11 at 17:40
up vote 1 down vote accepted

After long searches and trying to delete things from registry I found the following solution:

Delete SQLEXPRESS from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names

Delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1

Delete entire branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90

To remove actual databases, delete folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1

Disclaimer: Use at your own risk.

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(Asked question and answered to document answer for future troubleshooters.) – Danny Mar 15 '11 at 15:28

Microsoft lists other cleanup steps to also consider on MSDN, besides those few registry keys to fully cleanup an instance of SQL Server 2005 manually - This may also help from a SQL Server 2005 Express standpoint -

This blog post has an alternate approach that I have not tried And this

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Tried those both before deleting those keys - neither worked for me. – Danny Mar 15 '11 at 17:39
Interesting, just deleting the registry keys only that you mention and not doing everything won't be as clean as following the KB article though, just FYI for anyone reading this thread. – Mike Walsh Mar 15 '11 at 18:31
Yeh, it is best to try the KB first. Then delete registry keys if that doesn't work. – Danny Mar 17 '11 at 11:29

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