Unattended SQL Server Installations

If you have ever deployed Windows 2000 in an environment with hundreds of systems you know about the benefits of performing Unattended Installations. Using a setup file, containing the installation parameters, you can automate the installation of Windows 2000. This same capability to automate an installation of Windows 2000 is available for SQL Server 2000. Using an Unattended Installation you can install the components needed for SQL Server, the Client Tools, or Connectivity Only. However, you can’t use an Unattended Installation to perform tasks such as setting up Failover Clustering or Change the Optional Components that are already installed.

SQL Server uses a batch file (.BAT used to begin the installation) and an Installation Setup Initialization file (.ISS that contains the information needed during the installation) to perform the Unattended Installation. Both the Batch and the Installation Setup file can be edited with a simple text editor such as Notepad. SQL Server even provides you with sample Batch and Installation files that can be edited and used as needed. The example files can be located on the root directory of your SQL Server 2000 CD.

There are three ways to create an Installation Setup Initialization file:

  • Use the file created after installing SQL Server 2000
  • Use the SQL Server 2000 Setup program
  • Create a file by hand or edit an existing file

The first way to create an .ISS file is to perform a normal installation of SQL Server 2000. Each time you install SQL Server 2000, setup automatically creates a setup.iss file located in the \Install folder. You can copy this file and then use it to install SQL Server on another system, back up the file incase you need to reinstall SQL Server, or use the file as a beginning template that can be edited by hand.