Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Windows 7 + SQL 2008 = Aaaaarrrgggghhh!

I’m not heavy into technical stuff. Oh sure, I can whip out complicated T-SQL code in my sleep, but when it comes to lower-level operating system type stuff, I’m not that savvy. I’ve never installed Windows on a machine or formatted a hard drive in my life. My laptop will stagnate over the years with whatever version of Windows originally got installed on it.

So, anyway, I (finally) bought a new laptop a couple weeks ago. It came with Windows 7 Home Edition installed on it, but I wanted Windows 7 Professional, so I paid the geeks at Best Buy to install that for me. The computer’s disk also came pre-formatted with a tiny C: partition and an enormous D: partition. And I didn’t want to change all the (perhaps bad) habits I’ve acquired over decades, so I also paid them to format the drive into a single C: partition. They charged me more than I expected for these services, but I didn’t care, because I just didn’t want to be bothered.

So once the computer was ready, I brought it home and started the installations of software and moving stuff over from my old computer. Every software installation went just swimmingly… until I got around to installing SQL Server 2008.

I had the Developer edition and opted to install every service and feature, and it took a while. But when that thermometer bar was almost all the way filled, it gave me an error. I don’t remember now what the error was, but I thought, “Oh swell... That’s all I need.”

Of course, you cannot re-try an installation. If an installation fails, you have to uninstall it first (which takes about as long as the original installation) before you attempt another install.

So I went on the web and googled Windows 7 and SQL 2008. I came up with a nice writeup by Aaron Bertrand about it. Apparently SQL 2008 will install with errors, but you should be able to turn right around and just install SP1 without a problem. Okay, easy enough. I tried some of the suggestions mentioned in his blog post. I installed/uninstalled several more times but with no luck.

I even went so far as to do the slipstreaming stuff explained by Peter Saddow (incorporating the SP1 installation into the original installation files), and it still didn’t work after several more attempts.

I searched and searched and tried many things to no avail. I probably installed/uninstalled at least 20 times. (Of course, I eventually got smarter and didn’t try to install ALL the features… I just attempted to install only the Database Engine so that it didn’t take as long).

Finally, when I was ready to jump off a cliff (and with my family very upset at me for ignoring them in favor of my installation obsession), I happened to come across a thread at SQLServerCentral.

The solution was very simple, but really maddening.

Are you ready for this?

If your computer name is the same as your user account name, the installation will fail. That’s it. Pure and simple. End of story.

Huh? Can you believe this?

My computer name was BRAD and my user account name was Brad. Well, that means death as far as installing SQL Server 2008 is concerned.

So I changed my computer name to BRAD-PC (At this point I was tempted to call it something R-rated like #$@*!) and of course everything installed without a hitch. (And my slipstreaming stuff worked so that it was installed instantly as SP1).

So let this be a lesson to you if you buy a new computer and want to install SQL 2008:



Thank God that nightmare’s over.