As I have become the unlikely SQL Server 2005 "expert" at the company I am currently consulting to, I have been investigating a wide number of installation issue with SQL Server Express. There are a few main categories these problems fall into.
1. Installation of beta versions of SQL Server 2005 or the .Net Framework 2.0 (solution uninstall all beta versions of SQL Server 2005 or .Net 2.0, and if you've installed beta versions of Visual Studio 2005, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/support/uninstall/default.aspx)
2. The CPU is NOT fully Pentium III compatible
3. Various issues ranging from disk space to memory to OS service pack level etc...
In this post I want to deal with problem #2, The CPU compatibility problem.
There seem to be a number of CPU's that claim some kind of Pentium III compatibility, and as the hardware and software requirements for SQL Server 2005 state, Pentium III is the minimum hardware requirement.
However, for whatever reason, the SQL Server installer does not check CPU compatibility too thoroughly as we have seen a in a number of cases that the installer will issue a Hardware warning, but happily allow the user to continue to attempt to install SQL Server 2005 but will in the very final stages of the install refuse to start the SQL Server service. I'm not sure of all of the reasons why this error potentially occurs, but I know 1 definite problem is that SQL Server insists on the cache prefethching instructions of the Pentium III CPU. This is missing in a fair amount of CPU's that claim compatibility with Pentium III's. I have asked the guys at Microsoft about the minimum hardware warning, and they confess it is a problem, and are reviewing whether they are going to be more specific in the future, however, I think there needs to be some kind of list of all the different CPU's that one might reasonably expect to be able to install SQL Server 2005 on, but don't seem to have the ability to. So here it is, or at least the results of my research, if anyone else has seen similar problems, please leave a comment with the CPU specs and any links to discussions about the problem on various forums.
Via Eden - http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=304355&SiteID=1
500 MHz AMD Family 5, Model 8, Stepping 12 processor (AMD-K6-2) - http://www.sqljunkies.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=167¬ification_id=421614&message_id=421614
VIA Ezra 800Mhz processor - http://www.sqljunkies.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=167¬ification_id=421614&message_id=421614
Microsoft Virtual PC For Mac OS 7.0.2 (This emulates a Pentium II) http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.mac.virtualpc&tid=90715b2e-77ba-4f8a-a189-daee29467ff0&cat=en_US_595a5881-be4a-4db4-97b0-5f3a78602e23&lang=en&cr=US&sloc=en-us&m=1&p=1
Transmeta - http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=17395&SiteID=1 and http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/ProductFeedback/viewfeedback.aspx?feedbackid=cee0915a-6039-4ca6-aa0c-1b76285d4ac3