SQL Server 2000 does not install. Reboot the server forever!

Last month we were given a two test servers and were asked to install SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008 in each of them. It was not an easy ride as discussed here and here. The configuration of that server was very low and it had quite a lot of applications installed on it. One of those servers died a natural death since it was unable withstand the load! Then the System Admin team had to rebuild it.

Yesterday, I came to know that the server has been rebuilt and very soon we will be installing SQL Server instances on it once again! During the last installation fest, I missed to blog about the issues that we faced while installing SQL Server 2000.

After selecting the Instance type in the setup, it would pop up the message that a previous program installation created pending file operations and the server must be restarted to proceed with the installation.

Since the installer asked to reboot the server, why not? The server was rebooted and the setup was started again. Same error one more time. It was obvious that if no action was taken we would be rebooting the server forever! I had seen faced this issue at least a couple of time earlier. This is because of an entry in Windows Registry which is not getting deleted.

Opened up regedit.exe and navigated to

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSet001ControlSession Manager]

The key PendingFileRenameOperations is the one which is not allowing the SQL Server setup to proceed further.

As per TechNet article this entry does not exist by default. This is created by an Installer and is removed automatically after the Server restart. In our case, this entry was not deleted and it continued to be on the server. This entry can be renamed or can be deleted to ensure the future installations are successful. Simply deleted this entry from the Windows Registry and started the SQL Server 2000 setup immediately. The installation completed successfully.

This issue is not only limited to SQL Server 2000 installation. It is relevant even today in SQL Server 2008. This KB article confirms it.

I expect some action as soon as the DBA team is granted Logon Privileges to this server. Hopefully some new issues will crop up this time.