Deinstall express edition

  • fizzleme

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6885

    We have an ancient version on SQL express on a 2008 r2 server.  We need to deinstall it.    The original media files are not present so this is proving difficult.  The control panel De-install program option does not work.  The msiinv.exe also fails.    Can someone offer advice or consolation?  I am willing to play with the registry as a last resort. 

    What IS the answer to life the universe and everything?

    When the snows fall and the white winds blow,The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

    Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.

  • bmg002

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22388

    When you say the original media files are not present, do you mean the installation files or do you mean the "c:\program files" folder for SQL express got deleted?
    If you are just missing the installation files, SQL Express is free to download and you should be able to just re-download it.

    If you mean you deleted the files instead of doing an uninstall, you are in for a bit of pain.  The easiest way to fix this (in my opinion) would be to find a different computer (VM or physical), install the same version with as best as you can remember, the same settings.  Once this is installed, copy the files from the new machine to the old one and then do an uninstall.  If the new machine was a VM, then just kill that VM afterwards.  If it is a physical machine, uninstall SQL express after this.

    If that is not an option, then you are likely going to have a lot of troubles.  Removing registry entries always comes with risk.  It could be you remove stuff and it is gone from add/remove programs, but some little bits still exist and future SQL installs (express or otherwise) may be problematic.  Or, a worst case scenario, you clean all the regsitry stuff up, but accidentally delete a critical registry entry and your computer no longer boots.  No boot means you can't even recover the registry from a backup.
    Editing the registry should always always always be a last restort (in my opinion).

    Depending on what is all on this machine, it may be easier to just blow it away and start fresh?

  • fizzleme

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6885

    The installation files are missing.   the media files are still there.  No easy way to de-install?

    When the snows fall and the white winds blow,The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

    Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.

  • bmg002

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22388

    The easy way is to use add/remove programs.  But if that isn't working, I'd download a copy of SQL Express (it is free), and use that to remove the instance.
    I am pretty sure (but could be wrong) that the install and uninstall uses the same setup.exe file as all of the install and uninstall logic is inside the installer.

    Since it is just the media that is missing, I think getting the media is the "easy" way.  Changes to the registry are never the easy way (in my experience).

  • fizzleme

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6885

    I downloaded the sql express version closest to the one installed on the server.  Afterwards I ran the MSIINV utility to deinstall SQL server.  Of course this only removed components that had the media setup files.  No joy.
    This is a virtual server.  At this point I'm thinking a VM refresh is the best option.

    When the snows fall and the white winds blow,The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

    Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.

  • bmg002

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22388

    I think you'd want to have the same installation media.  As you pointed out, using incorrect installation media cannot remove all of the features.

    But Microsoft offers all of their express versions for download:
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/search/DownloadsDrillInResults.aspx?q=sql+server+express&cateorder=2_1_5_3_19

    A quick skim through that, I see 2005 all the way up to 2016.

  • fizzleme

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6885

    correct   The version we have is 2005 sp2.  When I tried to install that version, I received an error message saying sp3 was required.  And of course I could not de-install older components with that version.  I'm not entertained.

    When the snows fall and the white winds blow,The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

    Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.

  • bmg002

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22388

    That is odd.  I have not installed 2005 before, but I know with 2008 R2 and higher I've installed and uninstalled using the base media (with no service pack) even after installing service packs.

    What about if you just run the installer and uninstall from the setup.exe?  something along the lines of:
    Setup.exe /Action=Uninstall /FEATURES=SQL,AS,RS,IS,Tools /INSTANCENAME=MSSQLSERVER

    I am not sure which features are failing to be removed.
    If I understand that MSIINV tool, it lists things installed by the MSIEXEC tool.  It doesn't sound like MSIINV (from what I can tell) will uninstall an application.  And if you are hoping to do it with msiexec, you are going to have a hard time as there is a lot that gets installed, not just 1 thing.  I'd highly recommend using a supported uninstall method, such as the above.  I believe you can even leave out the "/FEATURES" section to get a nice GUI to pick what is to be removed.  If you have already gone through the "msiexec /x" method though, I would not be surprised if it doesn't uninstall nicely.

    To confirm, the msiinv tool you used was this one:
    https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/astebner/2005/07/01/using-msiinv-to-gather-information-about-what-is-installed-on-a-computer/
    or is it something different?

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