Saturday, March 22, 2014

SQL Server 2012 Express Unattended Installation

I was just trying to automate my SQL Server 2012 Express installation by using a ConfigurationFile.ini file that I had generated from a previous installation of SQL Server.

However, when I attempted to execute the installation by passing the ConfigurationFile.ini as a parameter to the setup, the installation failed to start!

When I did a bit of further reading on the issue, I discovered that you cannot use the ConfigurationFile.ini for automating installations of SQL Server Express and instead, you must completely automate the installation using the Command Prompt as described in this article:

That was rather unfortunate since it would take quite a bit of trial and error to determine the proper parameters to pass to the installation without the presence of a ConfigurationFile.ini file.

Well, fortunately, I discovered a neat little UNDOCUMENTED trick to determine the appropriate parameters to pass to the SQL Server 2012 Express installation.

  1. Perform a SQL Server 2012 Express installation with all of the desired parameters by using the Wizard GUI interface
  2. At the end of the installation, you will see a summary screen of the completed installation.  At the bottom of the screen, you will see a hyperlink to a summary text file.
  3. Click on the hyperlink to view the Summary text file.  Towards the bottom of the text file, you will see a section titled "User Input Settings" which indicates all of the various parameters that was used by the installation.
  4. You can then note down all of the parameters that you will need by cross checking the reference MSDN article and then create the appropriate command line for the SQL Server 2012 Express Installation! 

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