Unattended SQL Server Installations

The second option available is to use the SQL Server Setup program to create an Installation Setup Initialization file for you without actually installing SQL Server. The process is very similar to installing SQL Server 2000, except the final stages of adding registry keys and copying files are skipped. To create your own .ISS file, start the SQL Server 2000 installation as you normally would on the local computer. When you are prompted to select an Installation Option choose “Advanced Options.”

Once you have selected “Advanced Options” click Next.

The Advanced Options screen can be used to perform several different tasks:

  • Record Unattended .ISS file: Allows you to record an Installation Setup file that can be used to perform an unattended Installation of SQL Server. We will take a closer look at this option shortly.
  • Registry Rebuild: Allows you to recover your SQL Server installation if your registry becomes corrupted. You will need to provide setup with the installation options you chose when you originally installed SQL Server.
  • Maintain a Virtual Server for Failover Clustering: Allows you to maintain your SQL Server 2000 clusters including adding and removing nodes from a cluster. Note that this option is grayed out because the computer I used does not have clustering enabled.

Select Record Unattended .ISS file” and click Next.

From this point on the setup process will proceed as normal. However, once you reach what would be the final step of a normal installation, copying files to your hard disk, setup will exit without installing SQL Server. You can then locate the .ISS file SQL Server 2000 setup has created in the SystemRoot (ex: C:\WINNT) folder on your hard drive. The file will be named setup.iss.

You can now move, rename, and edit the setup.iss file as needed.

The third way to create an Installation Setup Initialization file is manually. You can start with a blank file and create the file line by line (if you’re feeling very industrious) or use one of the previous two methods to create a file that you can then edit.

Editing an .ISS file can be accomplished by opening the file from Notepad.

Review the following link to learn about the different sections of the Installation Setup Initialization file: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/instsql/in_runsetup_6nz9.asp