Uninstalling SQL Server 2008 November CTP

The November CTP of SQL 2008 has recently been released but unfortunately, my initial attempts at installing it have not been too successful.

After the main database engine failed to install, I was left with an installation that could not be uninstalled through Add/Remove programs. My second attempt resulted in an installation that prevented me from logging on using Windows/SQL authentication and I could not even login from the dedicated admin connection.

Over the past few days, I’ve learned a few things about SQL Setup and here are some notes on performing a manual uninstall. It’s very possible that these suggestions will not work or may even cause further damage – I suggest them only as a last resort before hacking the registry.

When SQL Server setup is executed, several ‘bootstrap’ files are copied into C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap.  These files are required to uninstall SQL and if you’ve deleted them, you’ll need to replace them. One possibility is to run setup on a different machine and to copy the files back over.

In the bootstrap folder, you’ll find a copy of ARPWrapper.exe. The link to uninstall SQL from Add/Remove programs makes a call to ARPWrapper and removal will fail if the reference to this has been lost. Therefore, a possible suggestion is to open a command prompt, go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap (or wherever you’ve installed SQL) and type in the following command:

ARPWrapper.exe /Remove

If this fails, the documented approach from the readme file is to uninstall each component one by one. Again, open a command prompt, go to the bootstrap folder and run the following commands:

To remove the SQL Engine:
Setup100.exe /Action=uninstall /SQLInstanceID=<Instance ID for the Database Engine>/Features=SQL

To remove Analysis Services:
Setup100.exe /Action=uninstall /ASInstanceID=<Instance ID for Analysis Services>/Features=AS

To remove Reporting Services:
Setup100.exe /Action=uninstall /RSInstanceID=<Instance ID for Reporting Services>/Features=RS

If SQL Server 2008 was installed as the default instance, the Instance ID will be MSSQLSERVER. Make sure that Setup100 exists on a local drive. If it is run from a mapped a network drive, it is likely to fail with a security exception.

A third option for un-installation is to call the msiexec utility with the /x parameter. In the registry, the SQL 2008 components can be found beneath HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall in a folder identified by a GUID. At a command prompt, type in the following command substituting the GUID that appears in the registry:

msiexec /x {GUID}

On a more positive note, I finally installed the CTP on a fresh VPC. This time round, the install routine was slick and seamlessly included the installation of the .Net Framework v2. Cosmetically, the Setup screen looks different and includes an ‘Installation Centre’. Within the install wizard, the items appear along the left hand pane and notice how the validation errors appear in a dropdown across the top.

The SQL Server 2008 Installation Centre

Part of the SQL Server Install Wizard with validation errors highlighted

The November CTP is great once it’s installed. For anyone experiencing installation problems, I strongly recommend downloading the VHD instead or flattening your VPC before spending too much time on fixing the problem like I did.



About dotnettim

Tim Leung is a Microsoft .Net / SQL Server developer based in England.
This entry was posted in SQL Server. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Uninstalling SQL Server 2008 November CTP

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for the ideas, I had to resort to option 3 using the msiexec utility before I hit the jackpot. However there was a twist and it failed using
    msiexec /x {GUID}. The solution on my system was to take the value from the UninstallString key and paste it into the command window, then things started to work. An example of what the string looked like was
    Msiexec.exe I/{GUID string}
    And for some reason, I ended up uninstalling the Reporting Services first, and when that was successful I was able to go to the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel to remove the SQL Server 2008 instance. After trying many, many things over the past few days this is the solution that worked for me.
    FYI – system is a Windows Server 2003 x64, also have SQL Server 2005 Express running on it. I have seen other threads where folks have said that these cannot be run alongside each other but I set up another system where they are co-existing without any problems. Hopefully this system doesn\’t bear any lasting effects from this failed install.
    Once again, much thanks for the ideas that got me back on track, I appreciated it greatly.

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for the great tips!  This really helped.  I had the November CTP installed and was attempting to upgrade to the new February 2008 CTP.  Unfortunatley it doesn\’t look like you can upgrade.  I had to uninstall the November CTP which failed.
    Like Michael I had to use the 3rd option.  I just searched through the Uninstall section of the registry for anything that was installed with my November CTP installation path as the source.  There were several items I had to uninstall manually, some with /x and some with /I.  Using the UninstallString key I had no problem. 

  3. Matt says:

    Just a follow up to my previous comment.
    I was never able to get SQL Server 2008 uninstalled.  By the time I thought I had everything removed (I made sure to only remove those items that the installation source was the CTP) SQL 2008 Feb CTP woudl no longer even attempt to install.  I got an error that the Windows installation app couldn\’t find the files it needed.  I\’m pretty much having to start from scratch with a new O/S.  So, this time I\’m using Virtual Server instead.  Ugh.

  4. Rod says:

    Tim,Great article – thanks for sharing.  I needed this to uninstall the Nov CTP.  I had to use the registry method, but it worked great.You saved my an OS re-install and a re-build of a developers machine.  Big job!Best regards,Rod

  5. Unknown says:

    Thank you very match! I had to use Msiexec.exe I/{GUID string} to uninstall, but it helped!
    Thanks again

  6. Unknown says:

    Hi Tim, This was a very helpful article, your 3rd option worked for me but with a small variation. I looked in registry for following path:
    "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Uninstall\\Microsoft SQL Server 2008"
    Under this path, I found the following uninstall string:
    "C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft SQL Server\\100\\Setup Bootstrap\\CTP6\\x86\\SetupARP.exe" /x86
    I then went to CMD window (and ran it in administrative mode). There, I ran the above command, and voila, there appeared the Add/repair/remove dialog. I clicked "remove". Removed all services.
    Got a clean uninstall. I am going to restart the machine, before I install it again.

  7. GEOFFREY says:

    I also tried #3 and was able to remove the CTP version, although in Add/Remove programs it still lists SQl Server 2008. When I try to do another uninstall it still finds the SQL Server SDK Connectivity, but fails to uninstall. I purchased SQL Server 2008 Developers Edition, hopefully that will instal correctly.The following still appear to be on my computerSQL Server2008SQL Server 2008 Nativee ClientSQl Server 2008 Setup Support FilesSQL Server 2008 Compact 3.5 SP1Don\’t know if I should try to remove these individually.

  8. Ali says:

    Try changing Regional Settings

  9. Pingback: MS SQL 2008 R2 Evaluationsversion lässt sich nicht deinstallieren Mathias Jäkel ist auch Online | Mathias Jäkel ist auch Online

  10. jannetdr says:

    I searched the solution everywhere and finally I could install. Thank you very much!

  11. Kenisha says:

    Hi Todd, I think your Twit­ter account has been hacked. Today I received a phish­ing DM from you, please check. The DM com­ment was “This you!!!” and then a link to a false sign-up page on Twit­ter (don’t sign up!). Regards, Paul Simbeck-Hampson (@ihpbecksammson)

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