SQL SERVER – Installation Error – File Format is Not Valid

The reason I love consulting is because I get to see many flavors of the problems. This new avatar for me is pushing the limits to how I keep learning technologies. My recent interaction with the client has shown one more error and another angle to look at a problem. Though some of these errors are new, it is a great way to understand how SQL Server actually works. In this blog post we will see Installation Error.

When setup comes to license agreement step, it says “File format is not valid”.

SQL SERVER - Installation Error - File Format is Not Valid file-format-error-01

Here is the text.

TITLE: SQL Server Setup failure.
SQL Server Setup has encountered the following error:
File format is not valid..

Based on MSDN, I looked into the detailed logs and found below

Exception type: System.ArgumentException
File format is not valid.
DisableWatson = true
at System.Windows.Forms.RichTextBox.StreamIn(Stream data, Int32 flags)
at System.Windows.Forms.RichTextBox.LoadFile(Stream data, RichTextBoxStreamType fileType)
at System.Windows.Forms.RichTextBox.LoadFile(String path, RichTextBoxStreamType fileType)
at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.InstallWizard.EULAPidView.UpdateLicenseText(String filepath)
at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.InstallWizard.EULAPidController.UpdateView()
at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.InstallWizard.EULAPidController.view_VisibleChanged(Object sender, EventArgs e)
at System.EventHandler.Invoke(Object sender, EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnVisibleChanged(EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Forms.ScrollableControl.OnVisibleChanged(EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnParentVisibleChanged(EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnVisibleChanged(EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Forms.ScrollableControl.OnVisibleChanged(EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmShowWindow(Message& m)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)
at System.Windows.Forms.ScrollableControl.WndProc(Message& m)
at System.Windows.Forms.ContainerControl.WndProc(Message& m)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.OnMessage(Message& m)
at System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)
at System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

I don’t know much of .net but looking at stack, it looks like it’s trying to load the file in setup screen. I think it’s picking the licensing details files which is on the media. My search shows that this might be due to corrupted ISO file.

Here is another blog on the same topic. SQL SERVER – 2012 RC0: Fix Setup Error: File format is not valid

But in this case, the size of this ISO was around 2 GB.  The download site indicates the ISO should be around 4 GB.  We ran sigcheck.exe from page https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897441 and generated SHA1 hash. The hash was different for the ISO and the mounted image.  So we downloaded ISO once again, verified SHA1 hash and used different tools to mount directly on Virtual CD.

Here is another way to get SHA1 signature (Availability and description of the File Checksum Integrity Verifier utility)

Have you encountered the same issue? What was the solution which worked for you?

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

File format, SQL Error Messages, SQL Server
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9 Comments. Leave new

  • I had a different issue where the installation (2012) will not accept to run untill I copied the Virtual CD component to the physical disk C:\ & run the installation from there. It might be some permission issue.

  • I had a similar kind of issue. I have 2014 installed on my machine and later I uninstalled it and had to install 2008R2. But the share folders have the dlls of 2014 and this doesn’t allow 2008R2 installation properly. So, I have to clean up the registry as well as delete all the shared dlls to make 2008R2 install properly.

  • Hi Pinal,
    After repairing the registry, this error should be ok.

  • In what format did you face above issue ? I am trying to Install SQL Server 2016 SP1 Standard and facing the same issue. Can you suggest from which site should I refer to download the installation media and which tool to use to burn it to ISO? Thanks for help.

  • I was getting the same error and found out it was because the installation was in my Documents folder. I moved it to the root drive of c:\ and got past the error.


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