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I have a broken field in my site collection that is not updatable / deletable. Every change that I try to make on the field does nothing - the field is in the same state as before. I tried it via UI, code and SharePoint Manager.

Is there any way to get rid of it? Is accessing the SharePoint Content Database directly the only way?

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Never touch the Databases directly! If you do so your installation will go into an unsupported state and you won't receive any support from MS. – Dribbel Jun 15 '12 at 12:22

Have you tried powershell?

I did a quick Google search and found the below articles, it might prove useful:

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