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How do I remove zombie Business Intelligence Development Studio installed by SQL Server Express?


How do I remove zombie Business Intelligence Development Studio installed by SQL Server Express?

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David Ziffer
David Ziffer
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I am at a client where they install SQL Server Express 2008 R2 from a disk that apparently is capable only of installing Express (the name of the installer file is SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe). This creates a basic SQL Express instance and also installs two shared tools: SSMS and BIDS. It does not install SQL Server Integration Services because as far as I can see that's not even an option for this installer. The SSMS works fine, but the BIDS is a zombie program that launches but fails to display any object that it creates in new projects, with the error message:

"Microsoft Visual Studio is unable to load this document. To design Integration Services packages in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS), BIDS has to be installed by one of these editions of SQL Server 2008 R2: Standard, Enterprise, Developer, or Evaluation. To install BIDS, run SQL Server Setup and select Business Intelligence Development Studio."

So for some insane reason the SQL Express edition installs a version of BIDS which, by its own admission, will not work. I tried using a full SQL Server 2008 R2 installation disk [I chose the Standard Edition] to install the Integration Services shared component (it succeeded) but this did not make BIDS work. The installer does not let me reinstall BIDS because it is already installed. I tried the "repair" option and sat through the whole repair, hoping that this would fix some registry values or something but at the end BIDS still did not work.

I would like to uninstall just the BIDS component of my SQL Express installation but I have no idea what happens if you choose the "Remove" option from the Control Panel's program management page, or even which of the dozen or so SQL Server objects to try to uninstall. I'm afraid the whole thing will disappear (that may be my only option however).

So the question is: Does anyone know how to uninstall just the BIDS program from within a SQL Express installation so that I can then re-install it using the Standard Edition? Please be specific with your instructions. Thanks.
David Ziffer
David Ziffer
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By the way it occurs to me that the SQL Server Express installation simply won't support BIDS at all no matter what you do (possibly even if you install a whole instance of Standard Edition alongside of it, since this still won't get rid of the BIDS that the Express edition installed). The question then is, why does Express install a nonworking instance of BIDS?
Orlando Colamatteo
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BIDS from the Express Edition media is just one variation of a program built on the Visual Studio Shell. Beyond that you are just adding Project Templates to your machine as you install additional programs also built on the Visual Studio Shell. You could even think of Visual Studio Professional Edition this way in that it adds a bunch more Project Templates to your machine when you install it, e.g. C# Class Libraries, ASP.NET Websites, etc. Express Edition does not add many Project Templates to the machine. I am not sure what they are, but there are not many. As you have found Integration Services Projects is not one of them. I would not even bother with the Express Edition install. You can just install BIDS from the Standard Edition media on top of what you already have.

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David Ziffer
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OK I answered my own question by just doing it, so I'll post my solution as a public service, since the answer to this problem does not seem to be posted anywhere on the web. Here's the step-by-step:

1. Go to your Control Panel "Programs and Features" and find "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)" [or yours might be 32 bit]. Right-click it and choose "Uninstall/Change". This should bring up a dialog box with 3 options: Add, Repair, Remove".

2. Despite the fact that "Add" has subtext "Choose this option to add features" whereas "Remove" has the subtext "Choose this option to remove the product", implying that your only option is to remove everything, select "Remove". This will NOT remove the entire product (as most uninstalls do) but rather it will bring up the same SQL Server installation wizard that you see when you install SQL Server. The wizard gives you plenty of options to opt out so don't worry.

3. Walk through the wizard and follow the logical steps. It allows you total granularity in uninstalling. Uninstall BIDS. Also if you made the mistake of installing "Integration Services" separately (as I did in my efforts to get BIDS working) I recommend you select that too. Proceed through the un-installation and it should remove only what you selected.

4. Fire up the installation disk. This must be a full installer of the real product, not the "Express" version.

5. I recommend that you select either the Standard or Enterprise version (rather than the Developer version) as your first step. I could be wrong, but I don't recall seeing "Integration Services" as an option on the Developer install, and you MUST install Integration Services. I chose Standard.

6. When you get to the page with the radio buttons that gives you the choice between "New instance or add shared features" vs. "Add features to an existing instance ...", select the FORMER ("Install a new instance or add shared features") despite the fact that it might intuitively seem like the wrong choice. If you select the latter, you'll end up with the same brain-dead BIDS that you started with.

7. When you get to the Feature Selection page with the check boxes, under "Shared Features" choose BOTH "Business Intelligence Development Studio" AND "Integration Services". If you choose only BIDS, it will not work.

8. Follow through on the installation. If you're lucky like me you'll end up with a working BIDS.
Orlando Colamatteo
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Thanks for posting your experience. I am sure it will be useful for someone.

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David Ziffer
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Thanks for your response OPC, but I tried solving this problem using the "install over it" and the "just add more stuff" concepts and they don't work.

You cannot just install over an existing instance of BIDS. If you install BIDS from the Express Edition and then try to reinstall it from some other edition you will fail, because the other edition will detect that BIDS is already installed and it won't let you install over it.

Like you I had the idea that the installers all install the same things and all I'd need is enough add-pns (or "templates" as you call them) and suddenly the Express version of BIDS would start working. My theory was that BIDS was not working because the "Integration Services" shared component was not installed (it's not an installation option from the Express version). So my first effort was to take the Standard Edition and install Integration Services as an additional shared component. I was really surprised when this approach did not work, i.e. when BIDS popped up the same error message as it did without Integration Services.

So today it finally occurred to me that there is really something inherently wrong with the version of BIDS that ships with Express Edition, i.e. that you cannot make it work no matter how much other stuff from other editions you add. So I uninstalled both BIDS along with the Integration Services I had recently added and then reinstalled both using my described procedure. I don't claim to understand it, but basically the wording of the error message that the Express version of BIDS was delivering on its failure turned out to be true: BIDS installed from any other than the listed edition simply won't work.

So why does Express Edition install a version of BIDS that does not work no matter what you add to it, and which requires removal and replacement? I dunno. I also don't know why people buy life insurance policies for their dependent children, but I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it.
Orlando Colamatteo
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I am pretty sure I have previously applied Developer Edition on top of Express and been successful. I know I have applied Enterprise on top of Standard with no issues. I'll clone my clean VM image when I get a chance to try it out because I am curious now. The fact that you got it sorted is what's important, but you should not have had to jump through all those hoops.

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David Ziffer (1/24/2013)


<snipped>

So why does Express Edition install a version of BIDS that does not work no matter what you add to it, and which requires removal and replacement? I dunno. I also don't know why people buy life insurance policies for their dependent children, but I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it.


The "Express with Advanced Services" edition includes SSRS, and IIRC, includes the project templates for developing SSRS reports in BIDS. So BIDS is functional and useful with that edition. Maybe Microsoft didn't bother to remove BIDS from the installers for the other two flavors of Express edition.

I certainly understand your frustration, though. Installing and configuring Visual Studio/BIDS with the desired features or upgrade an existing installation can be confusing, and Microsoft doesn't provide much guidance or documentation to make it any easier.

Jason Wolfkill
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Orlando Colamatteo
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David Ziffer (1/24/2013)
OK I answered my own question by just doing it, so I'll post my solution as a public service, since the answer to this problem does not seem to be posted anywhere on the web. Here's the step-by-step:

1. Go to your Control Panel "Programs and Features" and find "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)" [or yours might be 32 bit]. Right-click it and choose "Uninstall/Change". This should bring up a dialog box with 3 options: Add, Repair, Remove".

2. Despite the fact that "Add" has subtext "Choose this option to add features" whereas "Remove" has the subtext "Choose this option to remove the product", implying that your only option is to remove everything, select "Remove". This will NOT remove the entire product (as most uninstalls do) but rather it will bring up the same SQL Server installation wizard that you see when you install SQL Server. The wizard gives you plenty of options to opt out so don't worry.

3. Walk through the wizard and follow the logical steps. It allows you total granularity in uninstalling. Uninstall BIDS. Also if you made the mistake of installing "Integration Services" separately (as I did in my efforts to get BIDS working) I recommend you select that too. Proceed through the un-installation and it should remove only what you selected.

4. Fire up the installation disk. This must be a full installer of the real product, not the "Express" version.

5. I recommend that you select either the Standard or Enterprise version (rather than the Developer version) as your first step. I could be wrong, but I don't recall seeing "Integration Services" as an option on the Developer install, and you MUST install Integration Services. I chose Standard.

6. When you get to the page with the radio buttons that gives you the choice between "New instance or add shared features" vs. "Add features to an existing instance ...", select the FORMER ("Install a new instance or add shared features") despite the fact that it might intuitively seem like the wrong choice. If you select the latter, you'll end up with the same brain-dead BIDS that you started with.

7. When you get to the Feature Selection page with the check boxes, under "Shared Features" choose BOTH "Business Intelligence Development Studio" AND "Integration Services". If you choose only BIDS, it will not work.

8. Follow through on the installation. If you're lucky like me you'll end up with a working BIDS.

Happy to learn something on this one. I added bold to the only thing from your instructions that did not parallel my experience. I did not have to install IS to get a working version of BIDS.

I have upgraded from Standard to Enterprise Edition and had no issues with BIDS, and have even applied Visual Studio Professional or a higher Edition to a machine running BIDS without incident. The Visual Studio shell installed with SQL Express is, shall we say, special though in some certain way :-D

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mike.gallagher
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Very helpful David, thank you.
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