Magento Down After Uninstalling Module

We needed to remove a module from a Magento 1 installation. It was installed through Magento Connect Manager, so I went to uninstall it through Magento Connect Manager as well. I found the module in the list, choose Uninstall under Actions, and then clicked “Commit Changes”. The uninstall did not work, and we could no longer access the store or the admin panel.

When we tried to access the store or the admin panel, we received the message:

Service Temporarily Unavailable – The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

The title of the window also states, “Error 503: Service Unavailable”.

Luckily, we still had Magento Connect Manager open. If you do not, you can access it via:
<your_URL>/downloader/#connect_iframe_result

Scrolling down to the very bottom console window, we were able to see the error message we received was:

Starting to uninstall community/<module_name>

CONNECT ERROR: Failed to delete files: 
/path/to/the/file/that/did/not/delete
Check permissions

A precursory search on the internet said that you have to find the maintenance.flag file in the root directory and remove it to get your store back up and running. However, our root directory had no such file. Other sites said that to fix the issue you had to go to: /html/app/etc/modules and open the xml file for the module you are trying to delete. Then, change the line:

<active>true</active>

to

<active>false</active>

This also did not solve our problem. The last option touted on the internet was to manually delete every file that the module had installed. We knew it would take too much time to research the module to find out what files were installed and where (it was a free module with…very poor documentation). We needed our store back up and running before getting this done.

I had an idea and decided to give it a try. I went back to the Magento Connect Manager and clicked “Check for upgrades”. This searched for updates to our existing modules. Several had available updates. I chose one, selected “Upgrade to <version number> (stable)” under actions, and (here’s the important part), unchecked the box for “Put store on the maintenance mode while installing/upgrading/backup creation”. I then clicked “Commit Changes”. This ran the install and put the store back into active, working mode. We regained access to the store and the admin panel. The problematic module was still installed, but at least we had regained access to our site while we researched the list of files that need to be manually removed to finish uninstalling the module.

If you do not have any modules with upgrades available, you can choose an existing module and under actions, choose “Reinstall” to accomplish the same thing.

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