Support » Fixing WordPress » How to Remove All Elements of a Theme?

  • I have installed a theme which is unable to save the settings. I have uninstalled the theme then re-installed it – making sure all relevant files, via FTP were removed. Re-installed it and activated it, still unable to save, the theme says it was saved however the results do not save. I then went to the DB and removed any entries of that theme, again no impact. I use this same theme on other sites without any issue.

    Question – where else do I look for files that would not allow the theme from saving – I also checked all permission – no luck there either.


    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  wireB.
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  • If you’ve tried removing the theme from within WP-Admin and it didn’t work then your best best would be to contact the theme developer. We do not support third-party themes here on the Fixing WordPress forums.

    Another option would be to start a fresh install of WordPress.

    Are you trying to solve the problem of the theme not being able to save, or trying to remove all traces of the theme so you can use a different theme?

    In trying to save theme options, there could be an error (no fault of the theme) which causes the options to not save. This would be saving your choices into the database, but there are a few themes that actually attempt to write CSS to a file so it could also be file permissions (and it should be in the uploads folder so it’s not likely that). Removing the theme files and the theme database entries is not likely to affect whether the theme can save its data.
    If it’s the Customizer, it’s a lot of javascript, so if a plugin has an error, this could affect the running of the core and theme javascript.
    If it’s not the Customizer, it’s not a theme from the WP repository (or it’s old), so it’s not supported here.

    You can read here about finding javascript errors.
    You can also install the Health Check plugin and use its Troubleshooting mode to see if the problem persists with plugins disabled. It disables plugins for your user only, not affecting site visitors.

    Davood – I am simply asking how do you remove all elements of a theme? This, I would think is a WP platform matter. If the theme developer is no longer available – WP support should be able to answer this question. This same theme is used on other sites with no issues. Uninstalling the theme on this particular site evidently is not complete or has possibly impacted other scripts.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  wireB.

    Hello Joy,

    I will follow Davood’s advice and install a fresh WP however I still would like to know why is this theme unable to be saved. What is being left behind after the removal of the theme. It is more of a matter of where WP holds these files which are either artifacts or other files which have been impacted. Are theme removals likely to leave artifacts behind, if so, where?

    Kind regards,


    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  wireB.

    Truthfully, we have no clue why the theme can not be saved, especially because you have not shared which theme it is which makes it impossible for us to replicate the issue you are having in the even that it is a free theme from the theme library. That said, my best guess without know what theme it is would be that the theme is not compatible with WP 5.x and probably was not compatible with WP 4.9.x either.

    Sorry we could not be of more help.

    Responding to Joy – I do not have any problems using a different theme and its saving – it.

    Now Davood: Headway theme is the problematic theme which must be leaving artifacts. It is the this (artifacts) I want to remove.

    So that is a third-party theme and we do not support third party themes here in the Fixing WordPress forums. You can contact them here:

    Davood, as I stated before clearly, the theme is no longer supported, the company went belly up – the question as I have stated now several times, is what file or folder (artifacts) which are left over could impact WP from a theme uninstall.

    From what I have gathered from these responses it is unknown to WP support which files, after an uninstall, are left over which could be impacting a reinstall of the same theme. I am thinking the WP CODEX protocol would determine where the files of a theme are located and how they are to interact with WP.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  wireB.

    You did mention that.. however, it is hard for me to believe that they went belly up when their website is still up and running. I could of course be very mistaken but I recall getting support from them not too long ago for one of my clients. I believe it was late last year when I last had to contact them. In any event, if you can not get in touch with them then there is no further answers we can provide. My best guess would be that they decided not to update for Gutenberg and thus their code no longer works so that is what is causing the problem.

    I think the error you are having with saving is not about files left over from uninstall. It is the saving of the options, which go in the database, not a file.
    And we can’t know everything about every theme or plugin! That’s why they each have their own support forum. The theme could write files all over the place, and we wouldn’t know.
    The standard setup for a theme is for the theme files to be in the theme folder, which WordPress installs in the wp-content/themes folder. All the options are stored in the database, and that is all. Uninstalling a theme means the folder is deleted, but the database entry remains.

    Hi Joy,

    I understand better from your explanation how a theme can write in other areas where WordPress technical support would not know. That assumption was based upon the workings of the WP CODEX.

    With great appreciation, I would like to thank you and Davood for the number of responses you’ve given to bring forth a solution.

    Kind regards,


    Revised: “That assumption was based upon the workings of the WP CODEX.” Correction: My previous assumption was based upon the construct of WP CODEX.

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