Getting SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express installed on Windows 7

by Matt Milner 1. March 2010 07:19

This morning I found myself in need of the SQL Server management studio on a new box I built a few months ago. So far, I’ve only installed Visual Studio 2010 RC and the SQL Server 2008 Express that came with it.  I was first directed to use the Web Platform Installer which, while it is a great tool, didn’t provide any details with the installation ultimately failed.  After trying to run the installer as an administrator directly (outside the Web PI) I was warned that I needed to re-apply SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1. No biggie, I hit run anyway.  Then the real problem.  The installer kept failing saying that it required .NET 3.5 with Service Pack 1.  Windows 7, as you may know, comes with .NET 3.5 SP 1 installed by default. Well, sort of. 

While Windows 7 basically has 3.5 SP 1 on it, it really has a comparable version of the .NET framework installed.  Most machines (pre-win7) with 3.5 SP 1 have a framework version of something like 3.5.30729.1 .  On Windows 7, the framework version is: 3.5.30729.4926.  If you look in the registry, under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v3.5\   you will find this version number, but also a key named SP.  On Windows 7 that value is zero (0). 

Solution, change the registry entry for the SP key from 0 to 1 (one) and then run the installer. Voila, installs with no problem.  Now I just need to reapply SP1 (well, after actually walking through the less-than-intuitive installer to apply the management studio) and I’m good to go. 

Hope this saves someone else some time. 

[Update 3/3/10: fixed registry key path]

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