I have 4 nodes cluster on Windows Core with SQL Server 2016 installed on them (4 instances, 1 instance on each node).

I would like to remove 2 nodes from the cluster (2 instances aren't needed).

I can't run the SQL Server SETUP.exe utility in order to Choose "Remove node from a SQL Server failover cluster".

I can open Failover Cluster Manager on another server remove it from there, OR use WAC (Windows Admin Center) to perform the action.

However, most of the links I read about evicting SQL Cluster nodes are using that GUI utility (Setup.exe)

Will evicting via the WAC/Failover Cluster manager without the 'Setup.exe' step will hurt the cluster's validity ? What is the correct way to perform it ?

Many thanks, Roni.

2 Answers 2


Use the command-line parameters for setup.exe on Windows Core. The details can be found at Microsoft Docs. Using the command-line parameters allows use of the setup.exe without requiring the GUI pieces, which are problematic on Windows Core.

From that page:

Use the parameters in the following table to develop command-line scripts for RemoveNode. To uninstall a failover cluster, you must run RemoveNode on each failover cluster node. For more information, see Always On Failover Cluster Instances (SQL Server).

A simple example, taken from the page linked, is:


As per your statement you have 4 instances installed. This should be "Always On" not "FCI" (Failover Cluster Instance). If yes, please follow the steps

1- Remove unwanted nodes from Always on Replicas.

2- Evict these nodes from Windows Failover Cluster.

3- Remove databases which should be in restoring mode on unwanted nodes.

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