How to identify SQL Server 2008 setup issues in the setup log files


If issues occur during the installation of Microsoft SQL Server 2008, you can use the SQL Server 2008 log files to troubleshoot. This article contains a sample scenario and describes, step-by-step, how to find the root cause of a specific SQL Server 2008 setup issue.

More Information

When you run SQL Server Setup, log files are created in a new timestamped log folder. The log folder is located at %programfiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\. The time-stamped log folder name is in the format YYYYMMDD_hhmmss.

To troubleshoot issues that might occur during SQL Server 2008 setup, you might have to look in many log files to find the root cause of an issue. The initial log file might provide only the starting point for determining the root cause of the failure.

Generally, you do not have to use any of the log files in the Datastore subfolder. Usually, the following files must be reviewed:
  • ConfigurationFile.ini
  • Summary.txt
  • Detail.txt
  • Detail_ComponentUpdate.txt
  • Sql_common_core_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1.log
  • Sql_common_core_loc_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1033_1.log
  • Sql_engine_core_inst_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1.log
  • Sql_engine_core_inst_loc_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1033_1.log
  • Sql_engine_core_shared_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1.log
  • Sql_engine_core_shared_loc_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1033_1.log
  • Sql_tools_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1.log
  • Sql_tools_loc_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1033_1.log
  • SqlBrowser_Cpu32_1.log
  • Sqlncli_Cpu<32 and or 64>_1.log
Note In your environment, the file name and number of the log files might differ from the list based on the installation features that are selected when you install SQL Server 2008.

Description of the SQL Server 2008 log files


Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\

Purpose: This log is the clean and user friendly log file that contains the basic information about the problem. This file shows which SQL server components were detected, the operating system environment, the command-line parameters that were specified, the values that were specified, and the overall status of each MSI and MSP file that was executed. 

Troubleshooting: To find errors in this file, search for “error” or “failed” keywords. For more information about details of the failure, open the file that is listed in the line starting with “Log with failure”.


Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\<YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS>\Summary_<%ComputerName%_YYYYMMDD_HHMM>txt

Purpose: This log file contains the same information as the Summary.txt file. This log might also contain information about any previous SQL Server Setup attempt. 

Troubleshooting: To find errors in this file, you can generally search for “error” or “failed” keywords. For more information about details of the failure, open the file that is listed in the line starting with “Log with failure”.


Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\<YYYYMMDD_HHMM>\Detail.txt

Purpose: This log file provides a detailed log of the execution. It is organized on lines that begin with the time stamp followed by the extension that produced the log. This is one of the most important log files because it can be used to identify the failures that occur. The logs are generated on a time basis. This means that the actions are logged here not by the component that generated them but by the time at which they are invoked. This is useful to determine the execution process step by step, the order in which actions are executed, and the dependencies between actions. This file is generated for the main workflow such as the install, or the upgrade workflow.

Troubleshooting: If an error occurs in the setup process, the exception or error will be logged at the end of the file. To locate errors in this file, you must go to the end of the file and read the actions in reverse from bottom to top to find where the exception or error is logged. Find the line that starts with “Exit facility code” in the Summary.txt file, and then search for “error,” “Watson bucket,” or “exception” keywords in the Detail.txt file. The search results near the exit facility code will help you identify when and where the error first occurred.


Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\<YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS>\Detail_ComponentUpdate.txt

Purpose: This log file resembles the Detail.txt file. This file is generated for the component update workflow.

Troubleshooting: Follow the same steps as those in the Detail.txt section.


Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\<YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS>\Detail_GlobalRules.txt

Purpose: This log file resembles the Detail.txt file. This file is generated for the global rules execution.

Troubleshooting: This log file is used only if the Summary.txt file shows failures in the SystemConfigurationCheck section. Generally, you can open and use the SystemConfigurationCheck_Report.htm file to obtain all the information that is needed. However, if you want additional information from this log, search for the “Rule evaluation done : Failed” phrase in this file.

MSI log files:

  • <Feature>_<Architecture>_<Iteration>.log
  • <Feature>_<Architecture>_<Language>_<Iteration>.log
  • <Feature>_<Architecture>_<Iteration>_<workflow>.log
Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\<YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS>\<Name>.log

Purpose: These log files provide a detailed log of the package installation process. These logs are generated by the Msiexec.exe process when you install the specified package. If the setup was successful and no errors were encountered, the log entry “Product: Product_Name - Installation completed successfully” displays.

Troubleshooting: When you use the MSI log files, make sure that you are looking at the original source of the problem instead of the reactive error messages. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Sort the MSI logs in the same directory by the changed date.
  2. Open each MSI log file from the bottom of the log files to each previous log. For each log file, search for “Return value 3” or “@Microsoft” without the quotation marks.
  3. Note the error message for each file until you find no error at the end of the logs. The last log contains the original error. When you find the first occurrence in the log, you must determine whether the entries are valid because not all “Return value 3” errors are problems. Some of those errors are expected. If you can't determine whether the errors are valid, we recommend that you try one of the Microsoft SQL Server support options.


Location: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\<YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS>\SystemConfigurationCheck_Report.htm

Purpose: This file contains a friendly version of the rules execution status. It also provides a short description of each executed rule.

Troubleshooting: You can open the SystemConfigurationCheck_Report.htm file and look for the “Failed” keyword and examine if any “Warning” entries apply to your environment.

A sample scenario of how to use log files to identify the failed installation of a SQL Server 2008 stand-alone named instance

In this scenario, an error message appears in the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Setup dialog box that resembles the following:

TITLE: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Setup


The following error has occurred:

SQL Server Setup has encountered an error when running a Windows Installer file.

Windows Installer error message: The system cannot find the file specified.

Windows Installer file: C:\Temp\SQL2008Full_ENU\x64\setup\sql_engine_core_inst_msi\sql_engine_core_inst.msi

Windows Installer log file: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20100521_064942\sql_engine_core_inst_Cpu64_1.log

Click 'Retry' to retry the failed action, or click 'Cancel' to cancel this action and continue setup.

For help, click:




In this scenario, let's assume that you did not see this error message in the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Setup dialog box. Instead, your setup shows that the setup process failed.

In this scenario, to find the root cause of the failure by using log files, follow these steps:
  1. Find and open the Summary.txt file that corresponds to the last time that you ran SQL Server 2008 Setup. In this example, the C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20100521_064942 folder is associated with the actual installation. This folder contains the a Summary.txt file that has a file name in the following format:
  2. In the Summary.txt file, find the following information at the top of the report to help you in determine the reason for the failure:
    Overall summary:

    Final result: SQL Server installation failed. To continue, investigate the reason for the failure, correct the problem, uninstall SQL Server, and then rerun SQL Server Setup.

    Exit code (Decimal): -2068643839

    Exit facility code: 1203

    Exit error code: 1

    Exit message: SQL Server installation failed. To continue, investigate the reason for the failure, correct the problem, uninstall SQL Server, and then rerun SQL Server Setup.

    Start time: 2010-05-21 06:50:38

    End time: 2010-05-21 07:09:19

    Requested action: Install

    Log with failure: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20100521_064942\Detail.txt

    Based on this information, troubleshooting the Exit code or the Exit facility code will not lead you to find the root cause. This is because these codes cover multiple situations and are not determining factors of the failure. The key information from this section is the line starting with “Log with failure.”
  3. Open the log file that is identified in the line starting with “Log with failure” in the Summary.exe file. In this example, open the file C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20100521_064942\Detail.txt.
  4. Starting from the end of the file, search for the 1203 error from the bottom up. You will find the following section:
    2010-05-21 07:09:19 Slp: ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    2010-05-21 07:09:19 Slp: Running Action: CloseUI

    2010-05-21 07:09:19 Slp: Stop action skipped in UI Mode Full

    2010-05-21 07:09:19 Slp: Completed Action: CloseUI, returned True

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp:

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp:

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp:

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Error result: -2068643839

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Result facility code: 1203

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Result error code: 1

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Sco: Attempting to create base registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, machine

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Sco: Attempting to open registry subkey

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Sco: Attempting to open registry subkey Software\Microsoft\PCHealth\ErrorReporting\DW\Installed

    2010-05-21 07:09:23 Slp: Sco: Attempting to get registry value DW0201

    2010-05-21 07:10:26 Slp: Submitted 2 of 2 failures to the Watson data repository
  5. This information still does not show the actual cause of the problem or how to resolve it. The messages here may mislead you into thinking that this is a registry permission or corruption issue. These issues are only symptoms of the core problem. In the description of the Detail.txt file that is mentioned earlier, we suggested searching for the phrases “Error,” “Watson bucket,” and “Exception.” In this example, by using these search criteria, you receive the following results:
    • Error: 99 occurrences
    • Exception: 26 occurrences
    • Watson bucket: 4 occurrences

  6. In this case, “Watson bucket” would be the first item to review in the Detail.txt log file. Search from the bottom of the file to the top. The first location of the Watson bucket sections displays the following entries:
    2010-05-21 06:57:03 Slp: Target package: "C:\Temp\SQL2008Full_ENU\x64\setup\sql_engine_core_inst_msi\sql_engine_core_inst.msi"

    2010-05-21 06:57:04 Slp: InstallPackage: MsiInstallProduct returned the result code 2.

    2010-05-21 06:57:04 Slp: Watson Bucket 1

    From this information, we can deduce that the root cause of the failure is that the target package C:\Temp\SQL2008Full_ENU\x64\setup\sql_engine_core_inst_msi\sql_engine_core_inst.msi is missing.


For more information about how to view and read the SQL Server 2008 log files, view the following Microsoft TechNet article:
How to: View and Read SQL Server Setup Log Files

The TechNet article describes the basic structure of the file names and what the expected contents are. In this article, we will explain more specifically about how and when to use each type of log file.

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