This article contains information on common problems that occur during the installation of SQL Server Express, why they occur and how to resolve them.

If you have encountered and resolved a problem that is not listed, or have information to contribute to the resolutions already listed, please edit this page to add this information.


 

General Troubleshooting

Verify Prerequisites

Before installing SQL Server Express, ensure that you have installed any additional software required by SQL Server Express.  The following table contains a list of prerequisite software, as well as a link to the download location:

Version Prerequisites
SQL Server 2005 Express
SQL Server 2008 Express All versions: 

Advanced Services and Tools:

SQL Server 2008R2 Express All versions: 

Advanced Services and Tools:

 

To verify the presence of the above software prerequisites, use Add/Remove in Control Panel to see what is currently installed on the computer. If you attempt to install software that already is already present, you may be presented with the option to repair or remove the existing installation.

Get the Latest Version

To ensure you are installing the latest updates for SQL Server Express, including the latest service pack and cumulative update package, use the links in the following table to discover the latest available updates:

SQL Server Version Latest Service Pack Latest Cumulative Update
2005 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/913089 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957826/
2008 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968382 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957826/
2008R2 No available service packs (as of 6/29/10) http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2072493 (as of 6/29/10)

NOTE: Cumulative updates should only be installed if the update corrects a problem that you are experiencing. Before installing any cumulative update on a production server you should first install it in a test environment and verify that it corrects the problem.

Slipstream Installation

When performing an installation of SQL Server Express, you may wish to use the most recent service pack or cumulative update version of setup.exe.  This can be accomplished by performing a slipstream installation of SQL Server, which uses the setup files contained in the service pack or cumulative update instead of the ones provided with the original installation package.  A slipstream install also directly installs the service pack or cumulative update as part of the installation process.

For information on how to perform a cumulative update, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955392.

Common Installation Errors

The SQL Server service failed to start. For more information, see the SQL Server Books Online topics, "How to: View SQL Server 2005 Setup Log Files" and "Starting SQL Server Manually."

Affects: SQL Server 2005 Express
KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/920114
Cause: This error usually occurs on Windows XP systems, and indicates that the NETWORK SERVICE account (the account that SQL Server Express runs under by default,) does not have access to the C:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Application Data\Microsoft\Protect directory.
Resolution:

Perform the following steps to grant the NETWORK SERVICE access to the Protect directory, and then click the Retry button on the error dialog.

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Type C:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Application Data\Microsoft in the address bar, and then press ENTER.
  3. Right-click the Protect folder, and then click Properties.
  4. In the folder Properties dialog box, click the Security tab.
  5. Under Group or user names, determine whether NETWORK SERVICE is listed. If NETWORK SERVICE is not listed, follow these steps to add this account:
    1. Click Add to show the Select Users or Groups dialog box.
    2. Click Locations, select your computer name in the Locations dialog box, and then clickOK to return to the Select Users or Groups dialog box.
    3. Type Network Service in the Enter the object names to select box, and then clickCheck Names.
    4. Click OK to close the Select Users or Groups dialog box.
  6. Click NETWORK SERVICE under Group or user names, and then click to select the Allowcheck box for Full Control under Permissions for NETWORK SERVICE.
  7. Click OK to close the folder Properties dialog box.
  8. Click Retry in the error message dialog box to continue to install SQL Server Express Edition or SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services.

The Windows Installer service cannot update the system file C:\WINDOWS\system32\msxml6r.dll because the file is protected by Windows. You may need to update your operating system for this program to work correctly.

Affects: SQL Server 2005 Express, SQL Server 2008 Express
KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/958897
Cause:

This error occurs when you install an English version of SQL Express 2005 or 2008 on a non-English version of Windows XP SP3.

During installation of SQL Server Express, the setup process attempts to install the English version of msxml6r.dll since it correctly detects that the existing version is different (it’s specific to the Windows XP language version.) Since Windows XP SP3 has marked the installed version of the file as protected, SQL Server Express installation is unable to replace the existing version of the file with the English version.

Resolution: When this error occurs, select OK and installation will continue.

After SQL Server Express completes, verify that the installation was successful by viewing the MSXML 6.0 Parser installation status in the log files. If the log file states that the installation was successful, you can safely ignore this error. Use the following information to verify the installation status:

SQL Server 2005

Navigate to %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Files and open the SQLSetup*_<ComputerName>_MSXML6_*.log file. If you have attempted to install SQL Server Express multiple times, select the file with the latest number (SQLServer0005_mycomputer_MSXML6_1.log for example,) or that has a date/time of the last installation you performed.

Verify that the file contains a line similar to the following:

MSI (s) (D4:20) [18:48:23:312]: Product: MSXML 6.0 Parser
 -- Installation completed successfully.

SQL Server 2008

Navigate to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log and open the Msxml6_Cpu*_*.log file. If you have attempted to install SQL Server Express multiple times, select the file with the latest number or that has a date/time of the last installation you performed.

Verify that the file contains a line similar to the following:

MSI (s) (6C:E0) [16:50:13:281]: Product: MSXML 6.0 Parser (KB933579)
 -- Installation completed successfully.

A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

Affects: SQL Server 2008 Express
KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/960126
Cause:

This error occurs when upgrading Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000) to SQL Server 2008 Express.

Workaround:

Select Cancel to skip this action. Setup will continue and complete the upgrade.

The final summary page of the upgrade program will contain this error message. However, you can safely ignore this error message, and the upgrade will be finished successfully.

Exception has been thrown by the target of invocation. Click 'Retry' to retry the failed action, or click 'Cancel' to cancel this action and continue setup.

Affects: SQL Server 2008 Express
KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955814
Cause:

This error occurs when installing SQL Server 2008 Express on a Windows Server 2003 Sp2 or Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1 Domain Controller.

You may also receive this error when attempting to repair an instance of SQL Server 2008 Express. This behavior occurs if the SQL Server Agent service that is associated with the SQL instance is missing from the computer and must be re-created

Resolution:

While the KB article (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955814,) recommends installing either a hotfix or a cumulative update, you can also correct this problem by installing Service Pack 1 or later (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968382) for SQL Server 2008.

There is also a version of SQL Server 2008 Express that contains SP1 as part of the installation package.  This is only available for the core engine package, and can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=01af61e6-2f63-4291-bcad-fd500f6027ff.