SQL 2008 Installation Failure on Reporting Services

Recently, SQL Server 2008 was uninstalled from a Windows 2008 Server machine due to some configuration issues with Reporting Services. Attempts to re-install SQL Server with the Reporting Services option would fail. I was tasked with the re-install and as always, I welcome this type of work because there is something to learn nearly every time. Before the installation began, I went to "Programs and Features" and uninstalled anything referencing SQL Server. The Native Client installation was still listed, so I removed that. There was also a reference to SQL Server 2008 itself, but attempts to remove it failed instantly saying it was already uninstalled. Red flag number 1.

An installation summary was provided from a previous failed attempt and it provided an exception link with the following information:

Product: SQL Server ID: 50000 Source: setup.rll Version: 10.0 Component: SQL Server Native Client Message: A network error occurred while attempting to read from the file '%.*ls'.

The page went on to explain that an attempt was made to install (or update) SQL Server Native Client on a computer where SQL Server Native Client is already installed, and where the existing installation was from an MSI file that was not named sqlncli.msi.

Having just removed the SQL Server Native Client, I was confident that my next installation attempt would be successful. To make a long story short, my installation failed again when trying to install Reporting Services with the same exact error. Ok, so we must be dealing with a registry key issue, so I decided to run regclean to clean up the system. I would caution to do this at your own risk. In my case, there was nearly nothing else installed on the server and if anything drastic happened, I would have been able to get a file system restore or having the system rebuilt without losing anything major. I reviewed the undo reg file that was created by regclean and found references to Reporting Services.

Attempt 2! I was confident yet again that it would work and to make another long story short - it failed. At the same point, with the same error! Ok, now it's time to go through the error log a little bit closer. And for those of you who don't care about all the steps and only the solution, you should have skipped down to this part.

After the installation failure, the setup directed me to a summary log file. In the log file, there was a path to another log containing the failure information:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20100428_094920\sql_rs_Cpu64_1.log

I opened this file and located the following line:

MSI (s) (3C:80) [09:57:00:939]: Specified instance {2453DBC8-ACC4-4711-BD03-0C15353AA3D8} via transform :InstID01.mst;:InstName01.mst is already installed. MSINEWINSTANCE requires a new instance that is not installed.

Fire up RegEdit and search for the instance ID specified in the log. In my case it was {2453DBC8-ACC4-4711-BD03-0C15353AA3D8}.

Delete the registry keys that match up with that ID. You will notice that some of the values contained in that key folder reference Reporting Services and the initial installation path. In my case, I knew it was the right place to be because the previous install was done from a different location than where I was installing from.

After deleting the registry keys, I launched my Setup and added Reporting Services successfully. I was unable to choose the default configurations, however. My only option was to install without configuring. Once the installation was completed, I had to launch Reporting Services Configuration Manager and set up the new ReportServer databases. You have the option to create new databases or use existing ones.

This methodology would probably come in handy in any type of SQL Server 2008 installation failure where you suspect bad registry entries.