I wanted to publish this quick blog tonight to answer some of the questions that I have received recently regarding installation from an .ini file.


Microsoft has published a great MSDN article that lists the commands and options to use for installing SQL 2005 and its components from command prompt.




However, I have observed that it is easy to miss some of the important aspects while reading this lengthy article. If these important pre-requisites are not met, then setup will fail.


So here are the key takeaways:


-         Component names are case sensitive. So SQL_ENGINE is wrong, while SQL_Engine is correct

-         If you specify SQL_Engine, it won’t install all child features. For example, if you specify SQL_Engine, it won’t automatically install SQL_FullText. You need to specify each child component along with the parent component.

-         When installing SQL_Engine, you need to specify the SQLACCOUNT, AGTACCOUNT and SQLBROWSERACCOUNT. If any of these accounts are missing, setup will fail.

-         For cluster setup, cluster specific options like VS, GROUP, IP etc. are required, otherwise setup will fail.



Using .ini file

For running setup using an .ini file, you can specify these command line options within a .ini file.


To help you with this, Microsoft ships a template.ini file on the root of the installation media. I would strongly suggest that you use this .ini file as your starting point and remove any options that you don’t want. This .ini file does a great job of documenting these options.


Note that while using .ini file, the [Options] line is a required line in an .ini file. If not present, the setup will fail.



A word about accounts

While specifying the SQLACCOUNT, AGTACCOUNT and SQLBROWSERACCOUNT, refer to these guidelines:


Domain User account          :        <domain\user>

Local System Account         :        "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM"

Network Service Account     :        "NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE"

Local Service Account         :        "NT AUTHORITY\LOCAL SERVICE"




If you are installing SQL 2005 from command prompt using the CD, setup could fail if you chose to install SQL 2005 client components and documentation.


This is because these components are located in CD2. If you used /qn switch (which suppresses the setup user interface), setup will fail and you will see error 70379 in the Setup log file.


To avoid this situation, copy the contents of both the CDs onto the disk under the Servers and Tools folders, as highlighted in my blog here.


Hope this helps ensure that all bases are covered before you start the install. Let me know if you have any questions.