SQL SERVER – 2005 – Silent Installation – Unattended Installation

Silent SQL Server 2005 Installation is possible in two steps.

1) Creating an .ini file
The SQL Server CD contains a template file called template.ini . Based on that create another required .ini file which includes a single [Options] section containing multiple parameters, each relating to a different feature or configuration setting.

2) Run Setup on command prompt
On command prompt type following script

/settings <path TO .ini FILE>

If location of sqlinstall.ini file is at C:\SQLSetup folder. The command to initiate silent installation is:

setup.exe /settings C:SQLSetup sqlinstall.ini

Specify the /qn switch to perform a silent installation (with no dialog boxes) or the /qb switch to specify that only progress dialog boxes should be displayed.

Reference : Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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19 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi!

    Could you help me please?

    I’m building a setup for my application that requires SQL Server Express Edition installed …
    So, before I start copying files, I launching the executable for the installation of SQL Server from an INI file in silent mode (/qn parameter).
    My question is: how do I know automatically when the SQL Server installation is ended successfully or not?
    Are there some return values on which I can rely?




  • Hi

    If I would like to install SQL Server 2005 Express as a prerequisites with my application which is created using VS 2008, How can I set the above parameters?



  • Palanivel Rajan
    February 19, 2009 3:08 pm

    Hi ,

    I am trying to install SQL SERVER 2005 in silent mode.

    While proceeding after completion of 1st CD, I got “Insert CD 2” message box.

    I inserted the 2nd CD; but still am getting the “Insert CD 2” message box.

    Please give me your inputs


  • Ravishankar Chinnur
    February 21, 2009 10:49 am

    Hi Palanivel Rajan

    The alternative method is ,copy two cds in to hard disk and try

    definatly it will come


    Ravishankar Chinnur

  • Ravishankar Chinnur
    February 21, 2009 10:52 am

    Hi Palanivel Rajan

    But my question is how can we hide all ui screens in sql server
    2005.i.e., it should not display any set up windows while installing

    Thanks a lot

    Ravishankar Chinnur

  • To hide all setup dialogs use the /qn switch instead of the /qb switch.

  • Hello,

    Do you have any idea why a SQL Server security patch continues to attempt to install itself even when auto-update is disabled? KB959195 has attemped to install and failed every night around midnight, breaking my cluster and leaving SQL Server resources in a failed state. What in the world is it that Windows or SQL Server is ‘looking’ at that kicks off an unattended patch install like this?

    How can I ensure the that auto-update leaves my SQL Server patches alone?

    I’d appreciate any insight. Thanks!


  • I note all examples specify the full path (including drive letter) of the .ini file.

    I want to install from a CD, or USB memory stick, and do not know what the drive letter will be on the target machines.

    If I only use a relative path, the installer looks for the ini file in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\ and of course it is not there.

    How can I use a relative path to the .ini file?

  • Hello,

    i try to create my own sql server 2005 express installation with SSME.ini as below, but my Mixed Mode Dialog Box Password Still Blank.

    Did anyone can help me

    USERNAME=ABC => Status Ok
    COMPANYNAME=XYZ => Status Ok
    ADDLOCAL=ALL => Status Ok

    SAPWD=sql => Status Ng

    Why Mixed Mode Dialog Password Still Blank ??
    Did i miss some Setting ??


  • Hi David!

    Try this:

    copy setup.ini %TEMP%\setup.ini
    setup.exe /settings %TEMP%\setup.ini /qb

  • Hi,

    Could you please help?

    I am installing Sql Server 2008 Express in command prompt. The problem I have is that if there are any errors while its installing it puts it in the command prompt windows and then almost immediately closes the windows. How would I get the setup to show the error messages in a popup so let the user know wat the error is?

    Thanx in advanced,

  • Hi Pinalkumar Dave,
    i downloaded the sqlexpress .exe from microsoft site. You are just supposed to open the .exe and install. However, i want a silent installation on the client machine, because my C# windows app depends on sqlexpress to run on local machine. Please how do i go about this?

  • Hi,

    I was wondering if there is a way to install without having to log into the machine, hence not unattended instead no attended? I have seen unattended on all the installs for sql server but was wondering if there is a way to install without having to log into to run the script.


  • If i want to install the SQL2008 without user have to do anything but double click on the setup.bat file. I understand that I need to have the setup.ini. However i have no idea how to set the setup.ini file. Below are what I got from the net. I want to install the sql2008 with default instance only. Can you please teach me. Thanking you inadvance.

    Setup.exe /ConfigurationFile=MyConfigurationFile.INI

    Setup.exe /SQLSVCPASSWORD=”************” /AGTSVCPASSWORD=”************” /ASSVCPASSWORD=”************” /ISSVCPASSWORD=”************” /RSSVCPASSWORD=”************” /ConfigurationFile=MyConfigurationFile.INI

  • hai,
    i getting error called “please go to control panel and install system components” while insatlling sielnt mode in Sql Server 2005 developer edition..

  • but if we use the configuration file for the sql server installation. then how we trape the exit code or sql error message through dos console windows.

    please reply.

  • Pinal,

    I had a question about SWITCH command in SQL Server. I have a Main table and Stage table identical to each other and i keep moving data from stage table into main table and want to use the SWITCH function, if i have a Identity column in both tables and if i move the data pages to the main table will the identity column set according to the main table?


  • Colleen Rossman
    October 8, 2011 12:48 am

    I am trying the /qb install using a config file but the setup is not using my config file and succeeds without installing SQL Server. Any ideas why it’s not using my connfig file ? Here’s the command I”m running
    ‘…setup.exe /qb /settings D:\install\sql.ini’

  • Hi I installed SQL 2005 successfully as mentioned in your article. I created ini file as:



    It successfully installed SQL server but SQL Command Line tool is missing from add/remove program. I have to install this manually. do you have any solution which can install SQLCMD too along with this setup.


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