Tuesday, April 11, 2006

SQL Server 2005 installation problems on various CPU's

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


  1. Nehaya4:05 am

    Is there any way to instal SqlServer express in VIA Eden?
    Our company just bought dozens of it to a project and I've to install it :(

    Thanks again..

  2. No, there is no way to install SQL Express on a VIA Eden, it lacks the cache prefetching instruction which is vital to SQL Server.

  3. Steve M.4:36 am

    Also SQL 2005 will not load on a Via Samuel 2

  4. Anonymous6:13 am

    I just went through the unfortunate scenario you descibed about SSE indicating my hardware did not meet the requirements, happily continuing with the install, and then refusing to run. I was trying to use SSE with Visual Web Developer which looked like a good tool for the amature developer like myself. I just sort of concluded those free tools are not worth the hassle. Now I am trying to figure out how to remove the rest of the files since the Add/Remove Programs function didn't completely uninstall them.

  5. Anonymous11:28 am

    I have the problem trying to install on a machine with a Pentium M. SQL Server 2005 Express will give the error about hardware requirements but
    happily let me continue to install. I think I'll stick with SQL Server 2000 for now.

  6. Anonymous5:12 am

    A quick question, does this apply to AMD CPUs?

  7. Anonymous12:43 am

    Cannot install SQL Express on my Acer PC. It has an AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor 4200+