Deploy SQL Server 2008

Version 1

    How to perform a silent unattended install of SQL Server 2008 R2 (Standard or Enterprise) using a configuration file.


    With the instructions below, you’ll be able to create a new customized SQL silent installation in minimal time. Note that the configuration below doesn’t work with the Express edition of SQL Server 2008 R2.


    • Run setup.exe
    • Click on the installation tab
    • Click “New Installation”
    • Go through the wizard: Enter product key, accept license, install setup support files, and select the features you want to install: sqlfeatures.jpeg
    • Continue the installation until you reach the “Ready To Install” step. Notice the path to the configuration file highlighted below in blue. readytoinstall1.jpeg
    • Now that you have the configuration file, copy it to your own folder or network share where you want to start the unattended installation.
    • Cancel setup since we’re interested in the unattended silent mode of installation; not the UI one.
    • Edit the configuration file as follows:
      • Set QUIET to “True”. This specifies that Setup will run in a quiet mode without any user interface (i.e. unattended installation).
      • Set SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS to “BUILTIN\ADMINISTRATORS”. This will ensure that administrators on the machine are added as members of the sysadmin role. You can set its value based on your needs (Ex: SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS=”domain\YourUser”), but this is the more generic approach.
      • Add PID and set its value to your product license key. If your setup.exe already comes preloaded with the key, there is no need to add this option to the configuration file.
      • Add IACCEPTSQLSERVERLICENSETERMS and set its value to “True”. This is to required to acknowledge acceptance of the license terms when the /Q (i.e. QUIET) parameter is specified for unattended installations.
      • Remove the ADDCURRENTUSERASSQLADMIN parameter. The reason is that this parameter can’t be used when SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS is specified, and it only applies to Express installations.
      • Remove the UIMODE parameter as it can’t be used with the QUITE parameter.
      • Remove INSTALLSHAREDDIR, INSTALLSHAREDWOWDIR, INSTANCEDIR parameters since we want to install on the default installation directories.


    That’s it. If you want to change the features that this setup will install, there is no need to go with the full steps again. You can simply change the value for the FEATURES parameter.

    For example, the features I selected (shown in first screenshot above) will generate FEATURES=SQLENGINE,SSMS,ADV_SSMS in the configuration file.  You can change that based on your needs. The full list of available feature parameters and their descriptions is located here.

    After getting the configuration file ready, you’ll need to run setup.exe passing the configuration file as a parameter.  "\setup.exe"/ConfigurationFile="<path to configuration file>"


    A sample configuration file is attached to this document.