Is SQL Server 2008 supported on Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2?

Yes it is! See this blog post from Peter Saddow:

First, if you have User Access Control in full swing, UAC will generate a prompt to make sure you're okay with SQL Server making changes to your computer. If you're not okay with this, obviously, click No, and go about your day as usual. Otherwise, click Yes.

Remember that you need to leave the SQL Server Installation Center running while setup continues. This means you will have two setup icons in your taskbar; in the past, I've attempted to de-clutter my desktop during setup, only to find out that the Installation Center needs to be running or else your temporary files will disappear. I complained about this issue here, but it will not be addressed in this release:

Next, you will get a warning during setup (multiple times; once when you launch setup.exe, once when you select "New SQL Server stand-alone installation…", and possibly through other paths as well) that only SQL Server 2008 SP1 is supported on your operating system. In the past, this dialog has stopped a lot of people in their tracks, as they thought there was a serious issue and/or that setup would not allow them continue. Rest assured, you can safely ignore this warning, just make sure to install SP1 before you do anything else. While you might already be seeing it through Microsoft Update, you can download SP1 manually here:

Please make sure you download the right language for your operating system / SQL Server instance. I have seen more than one customer complain that they ran the SP1 installer, but it could not find any components to update, because the language did not match. (The fact that setup couldn't give a more helpful error message is another issue.)

If you are ambitious, you could avoid this warning by slipstreaming your install with SP1 (and optionally, post-SP1 cumulative updates). Peter also has some great blog posts and FAQs on this process:

Whether you slipstream or not, once setup gets to the point where it is going to launch the Setup Support Rules screen, you may see this error:

Invoke or BeginInvoke cannot be called on a control until the window handle has been created.

This is due to a Windows 7 change in how .NET UI dialogs are closed, and will be addressed both in a future 2008 CU and in 2008 R2 (see Peter's addendum about this issue here). In the meantime, I have found that the problem goes away if I reboot (as John Paul Cook pointed out earlier), but not if I simply shut down setup and start over. This likely affects SQL Server 2005 setup as well, since they share the same installation framework; however, if that is the case, I doubt it will be fixed.

John also explains that when you setup SQL Server 2008 initially, leave out Books Online, as a more up to date version is available here:

Finally, watch this Knowledge Base article, as it is being updated for the final release of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:

A side note : can you blue screen Windows 7? Yes you can! I did this today, using only the SQL Server 2008 installer and Task Manager. Here is how I did this, in a VMWare Fusion virtual machine:

  1. I launched setup, and got the "Invoke or BeginInvoke…" error from above.
  2. I quit setup (and an instance of SSMS I had open) and rebooted.
  3. I launched setup again.
  4. The Setup Support Rules screen seemed hung, so I opened Task Manager and was surprised to find an instance of SSMS there.
  5. Being impatient, I highlighted ssms.exe and clicked "Kill Process."
  6. The dialog I got insinuated that I would lose data. Since I knew I had not opened an instance of SSMS, I shrugged and killed the process anyway.
  7. I was immediately presented with a BSOD, and VMWare quickly "recovered" by restarting the VM.

This actually hosed my Windows 7 Virtual Machine so badly that I had to delete it from within VMWare Fusion. I would try to start it up, and it sat there frozen. So I deleted it and am rebuilding a Windows Server 2008 R2 VM as I post this (it was released on MSDN/TechNet, and maybe Connect too, earlier today). I should learn to create snapshots before installing software, but quite honestly this is by far the worst outcome I've ever had with a SQL Server install, and the VM was a brand new throw-away anyhow.

SQL Server 2008 R2

Many of the same elements apply for SQL Server 2008 R2. A couple of additional notes, which have been mentioned before but are worth mentioning again:

  • You cannot revert to 2008 tools once you install 2008 R2. You can uninstall the 2008 R2 instance, but the client tools will not revert back to the previous version. If you already have SQL Server 2008 client tools installed, you will see this warning on the "Installation Rules" screen in SQL Server 2008 R2 setup:

  • You cannot upgrade any existing instance (2008 or otherwise) to R2, because only Enterprise Evaluation is currently being offered, and there is no upgrade path. So, if you already have SQL Server installed, you will need to install a separate instance in order to play. Probably the safest route for now, but since I tried to perform an upgrade, I figured some of you might try it too.

Hope this information is useful.

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him. If I've helped you out, consider thanking me with a coffee. :-)

68 Responses

  1. Steven Tennett says:

    I installed SQL2014 and now find all my databases gone from SQL2008 and I do not have permissions to do anything there (like trying to restore or create a databvase), even with my own data! Can you help?

  2. Agunlejika Adeoluwa says:

    Hello Aaron,pls am still new in sql database and am having serious issue accessing sql server 2008 after installation on my window 7 system. Every time i press on the sql 2008 folder it gives an error message that i need to .Net 3.5 installed to proceed further…I have the .Net3.5 installed on my System which i saw by going to CONTROL PANEL and then click on PROGRAMS and then TURN WINDOW FEATURES ON OR OFF but still have the same problem …Pls put me through on how to go about this…

  3. Agunlejika Adeoluwa says:

    Hello Aaron,pls am still new in sql database and am having serious issue accessing sql server 2008 after installation on my window 7 system. Every time i press on the sql 2008 folder it gives an error message that i need to .Net 3.5 installed to proceed further…I have the .Net3.5 installed on my System which i saw by going to CONTROL PANEL and then click on PROGRAMS and then TURN WINDOW FEATURES ON OR OFF but still have the same problem …Pls put me through on how to go about this…

  4. Naveed says:

    Hi Aaron, these are the files which has been downloaded from the link which u suggested to download.. i hope all are 32bit files:
    my question is what is the sequence of installing these files? which all files i have to install in what sequence? can u please number them, waiting for yo positive response Aaron

  5. Naveed says:

    Thanks Aaron u suggested me to download from this site
    will it work for both windows 7 enterprise x86 and x64 bit systems.. Waiting for yo response Aaron…

  6. David R says:

    I have been running SQL Server 2008R2 Adv Express Edition in an Windows 7 VM, and have been getting frequent BSOD crashes.  Same VM running SQL  Server 2005 does not.  Have you encountered this, or have any idea what is the cause?  Its quite annoying.

  7. Spradlin says:

    payday loans
    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

  8. Hirsch says:

    pay day loan
    Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

  9. Aaron Bertrand says:

    Naveed it sounds like you installed the base version of SQL Express, which doesn't include Management Studio. And why are you installing 2008 today anyway (and why the x86 version)? I highly recommend using a more modern version with a longer support lifetime. At the very least, even if you need to use a 2008 engine for some reason, you should be using Management Studio 2012 SP1, which is free and fully functional without any of the limitations that existed in previous versions of SSMS Express.

  10. Naveed says:

    Hi Aaron,
    this is naveed from india..
    i installed in my desktop this sql (SQLEXPR32_x86_ENU) and its install
    perfectly but what is the problem is after completion of installation
    "SQL Server Mangement studio" Option is not showing why is it not showing do you have any idea…

  11. MCAGRL says:


  12. Nizar says:

    Aaron, What about the client tool SSMS (for SQL Server 2005, 2008 & 2008 R2)? is SSMS compatible with Window 7 enterprise edition as we are upgrading our desktop OS from XP to Win 7.
    Is there anything we need to keep in mind?
    Thanks in adv.

  13. vrreddy says:

    We are unable to installation sql server 2008 r2 in windows 7?
    i am getting this error
    This sql server setup media is not supported on x86 system. To continue run the sql server setup media that matches your system.

  14. Ali says:

    @shilpa – check if the SQL browser is enabled and started. you cud also Manually type the server name and get connected.
    Ask questions on MSDN/technet forums its free and you get much faster response.

  15. Shilpa says:

    I have installed sql server management studio 2008 on windows 7 from
    I started service sqlserver2008 from services.msc
    But while connect (through connect to pop up) to database engine I cant see any Local servers its empty.
    Is sql server not installed whats issue ?? Thanks in advance

  16. Christopher says:

    I installed Sql Server 2008 R2 Enterprise on a Windows 7 Professional machine which is on our network. From two other computers, one running Windows 7 Pro and the other running Windows XP Pro, I tried to connect to the Sqlserver instance via an MS Access 2010 project. After I got to the Access screen to pick a server, I saw  the SQL Server's computer name AMS2-WIN7, but the instance name AMSSQLSERVER was not next to the computer name (AMS2-WIN7\AMSSQLSERVER was not there.) I tried using just the computer name, but the connection failed on both computers. Any ideas? Thank you

  17. Ali says:

    @Oliver 14 steps are confusing?
    ok try this GUI version
    I havent tried it though

  18. Oliver says:

    Any easy way to slipstream sql 2008 installation media?
    I found a blog by Peter Sadow which is confusing to my end users.

  19. babu says:

    Hi Aaron,
         We have SQL2008 r2 installed in Windows 7 system.We have couple of our Windows services also starting up along with SQL server with the system boot up.
    2 of the windows services connects to the database.Now we encounter the issue of Synchronizing were the SQL server is not fully up and my client services starts connecting to it and fails.
    Apart from waiting for the SQL server to be fully up and then trying connection.I wanted to know is there any other way i could optimize the start up of SQL server?
    Thanks in advance

  20. junior says:

    i installed sql server 2008 n was working fin but due to certain problems i uninstalled wen i reinstall it i'm not getting any server instances.any good help is appreciated

  21. AaronBertrand says:

    Hidayat, I haven't tried to install SQL Server 2005 anywhere in a long time. I suggest you try with a more modern version for your workstation. If you have problems please post your configuration and error messages to a site like

  22. Hidayat says:

    i have install SQL sarver 2005 in may laptop in windows 7 but can not working.which virsion is compatibal for windows 7.please help me if any
    one can know about this.plz plz

  23. Zuba Dalama says:

    I'm sure you've mistakenly killed smss.exe, NOT SSMS.exe.

  24. Richard says:

    I'm glad I read your blog first before trying to install SQL Server 2008. What you suggested about re-booting after getting that "Invoke or Begin Invoke" error worked. I re-booted was able to move on through the install with no problem. Thank you.

  25. shilpa says:

    My sql server 2008 installation stops in between without any error.plss help

  26. jonh says:

    i when installing sqlserver 2008r2 massage .net application security
    please i help .
    thank you

  27. MinelDD says:

    When installing SQL Server 2008 R2 on a machine with Windows 7 installation error code is 289 740 454

  28. Aaron Bertrand says:

    Maybe try this KB

  29. Fabkhush says:

    I tried installing SQL Server 2008 x64 on Win 7 SP1. I did get error of "Invoke or revoke…" first time but when i tried running it for second time I get error: —————————
    SQL Server Setup
    The loading and initialization of 'setup.rll' failed with error code: 0x80070002
    SQL Server Setup will now exit.
    Any help appreciated

  30. Manoranjan Dash says:

    when I m installing Sql server2008,i am finding the error like this:
    Unable to open windows installer file D:\Sql server2008\x86\setup\sql_engine_core_inst_loc_msi\1033\sql_engine_core_inst_loc.msi
    Windows installer error message:The system can not open the device or file specified.
    Please help me….

  31. Mahmud says:

    Cannot connect to shithil-PC/SQLEXPRESS.
    A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 – Could not open a connection to SQL Server) (.Net SqlClient Data Provider)
    For help, click:
    Error Number: 67
    Severity: 20
    State: 0

  32. something something something says:

    I uninstalled c#( because it didn't have a SP1 update) and it work. Give it a try.

  33. Snamyna says:

    This is the actual error come out.
    "Attempted to perform an unauthorized operation."
    The installation process stops at the SqlBrowserConfigAction_install_ConfigNonRC_CPU32

  34. Snamyna says:

    oh im sorry. actually the errors occurred as database engine, analysis service,and  reporting service were not successfully installed.  but the others were successfully done installed.
    My notebook is 2-years notebook, 32 bit WIndows 7 Ultimate. My friends can successfully installed SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 in Windows 7 Ultimate, so im just trying to use this kind of x86 version.

  35. AaronBertrand says:

    I'm not sure I understand. You say "this kind of errors (below)" but I don't see any errors below.  I can't really provide any guidance if I don't know what the problem is.
    As an aside, how old is your PC?  Any reason you're not using an x64 version of the OS (and an x64 version of SQL Server)?

  36. Snamyna says:

    Hye Aaron and others.
    I had tried several times installing Sql Server 2008 in my Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit) but this kind of errors (below) keep occurring. I also tried to install SQL Server 2008 SP1 but as you said, many complaint that error 'it could not find any components to update' occured. I've checked whether i've chosen the right language, and Yes! i chose English. How can i solve this problem? Please help me with step by step guide as I need it to be done installed within this several days. Please…….Thanks for your help.
    The following notes apply to this release of SQL Server only.
    Microsoft Update
    For information about how to use Microsoft Update to identify updates for SQL Server 2008, see the Microsoft Update Web site <<a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://>">> at
    Reporting Services
    The Reporting Services installation options that you specified in Setup determine whether additional configuration is required before you can access the report server. If you installed the default configuration, the report server can be used immediately. If you installed the program files only, you must run the Reporting Services Configuration tool to deploy the report server.
    To install the Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Technologies, start the rsSharePoint.msi in the Setup folder on the SQL Server 2008 installation media after SQL Server Setup is complete.
    Documentation and Samples
    To install the .NET Framework SDK, see “Installing the .NET Framework SDK” in SQL Server 2008 Books Online <<a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://>">> at
    By default, sample databases and sample code are not installed as part of SQL Server Setup. To install sample databases and sample code for non-Express editions of SQL Server 2008, see the CodePlex Web site <<a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://>">> at To read about support for SQL Server sample databases and sample code for SQL Server Express, see Databases and Samples Overview <<a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://>">> on the CodePlex Web site at
    For more information about late-breaking changes in this release of SQL Server, see the latest readme file <<a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://>">> at
    For information about SQL Server 2008 Surface Area Configuration, see the following SQL Server 2008 documentation topics:
    In SQL Server 2008 Books Online: “Understanding Surface Area Configuration.”
    In SQL Server 2008 Setup Help: “Minimize SQL Server 2008 Surface Area.”
       In SQL Server 2008 Books Online on MSDN: Understanding Surface Area Configuration <<a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://>">>     at

  37. AaronBertrand says:

    chicks, you'll have to be more specific. What does "not working" mean?  I suggest hitting up a community site like or

  38. chicks says:

    i have windows 7 on my pc 32 bit. and i installed sql server 2005 standard edition but its not working. which version of sql server is compatibl with windows 7..

  39. Md. Masroor Islam says:

    Hat on to you for providing such a great article on SQL Server 2008 Installation issues.
    It helped me a lot.
    Thanks again.

  40. Alireza MAssali says:

    how can i delete a row(a record) from my Db which i connect to the SQL By the Connected Mode.
    these codes are Mine , but it Doesnt work Would it be possible to Help Me???
    In my form i have 2 textboxes, and a Button (Name=BtnDel) and a Listview.
    In these Codes i select a Row from Listview And save it in Deltext(String), so It has to Delete The row (record)Form My DB (Categories)which Has  2 Fields(Col) 1-ccode 2-Category.
    But It Doesnt Work Would You PLZ help ME???
    string deltext;
                   ListViewItem.ListViewSubItem[] IT =new ListViewItem.ListViewSubItem [2];
                   deltext = listView1.FocusedItem.SubItems[1].ToString();
                   SqlCommand cmdDel = new SqlCommand();
                   cmdDel.Connection = new myConnection().Cnn;//comment//A class which give me the connection Sting and Open it For ME .
                   cmdDel.CommandText = "delete from categories where Category=@cat";
                   cmdDel.Parameters.AddWithValue ("@cat", deltext);
                   this.GetRecords();   //Comment//this is a method which i get all of my record by this

  41. George Chakhidze says:

    Note about BSOD:
    You killed SMSS.EXE (Windows Session Manager), not SSMS.EXE (SQL Server Management Studio).
    SMSS.EXE is a critical process. Killing critical process causes BSOD.

  42. alireza7219 says:

    Would it be possible To introduce me a webpage To answer my questions in vb 2008 and sql 2008 , ?? a froum,

  43. Arthur says:

    Sorry for 'grate', of course great!

  44. Arthur says:

    Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for your response.
    I just typed instance name and hurray! I was able connect to my SQL 2008 server.
    Thanks again, that was grate help!

  45. Aaron Bertrand says:

    First, validate that your named instance is in fact called "Hades". What do you see in regedit.exe > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / Microsoft SQL Server / Instance Names / SQL ?
    Second, either change your computer name so it doesn't have a bad character (-) or get used to putting square brackets around it every time you use it.  Also consider using localhost or instead of the name, or adding an alias to your hosts file and/or configuration manager.
    Third, try connecting to your instance using Management Studio or something.  Code just adds layers to your testing and should be the next step after you know what your instance name is called and that it actually accepts connections.
    Finally, post your questions on StackOverflow.  I don't mind providing a bit of guidance but this is certainly not a support forum.

  46. alireza7219 says:

    i write these code in my form load  :
    Dim objConnection As SqlConnection = New SqlConnection()
           objConnection.ConnectionString = "Data Source=HADES-PC\Hades;Initial Catalog=C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA\first.mdf;Integrated Security=True"
    but When i run the program Says
    A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 – Error Locating Server/Instance Specified)
    Could u help me

  47. Aaron Bertrand says:

    Arthur, is it possible that the SQL Browser service is not running?
    Anyway if you remember the instance name you created then you can simply type in the name yourself:

  48. Arthur says:

    I have installed SQL server 2008 enterprise in my Window 7 Professional x64. When I am opening SQL Server Management Studio on Connect to Server popup combo box I can't see SQL 2008 I have installed, but can see all others (2000, 2005…). Is anybody know where I can find my SQL 2008 Database Engine?

  49. Aaron Bertrand says:

    StackOverflow is probably a better place.  The author of a blog will see comments from a post that is a year old, but nobody else will, so starting a new thread there will get a lot more audience and a lot better chance at good answers and discussion.

  50. alireza7219 says:

    Thanx Alot , Such a fast answering, Here is better than My university fo asking My Question.

  51. Aaron Bertrand says:

    Personally, I would install SQL Server and then Visual Studio.  When installing Visual Studio, make sure to not install the Express Edition of SQL Server that is part of the install.  If you already have an instance of SQL Server locally (I assume Developer Edition) then there is little reason to add an additional Express instance.  You can do things the other way around if you want, but I remember the 2005 versions had a real problem in that case, and I rebuilt one machine because of it (and heard of several other similar stories).  I'm not sure that I trust all of these issues to be fixed in the 2008 editions.

  52. alireza7219 says:

    IS there any difference between Instaling visual studio 2008 first then Sql
    and  at first install Sql and then visual studio 2008?????

  53. Aaron Bertrand says:

    Yes, x86 = 32-bit
    x64 = 64-bit
    IA64 = Itanium 64-bit (pretty rare these days)

  54. Alireza says:

    I have Win 7 32 bit ,
    So there is a question For me to Ask , Which One of those Link I Have to Download ???? The THIRD one ???
    [email protected]

  55. Carlos K says:

    Excellent, Thanks. I had a feeling, but just wanted to be 100% sure. Thanks for the fast reply.

  56. AaronBertrand says:

    Carlos, you can't install SP1 before you install the base product.  What I meant was, finish the install, then before doing anything ELSE, install SP1.

  57. Carlos K says:

    When you say:" Rest assured, you can safely ignore this warning, just make sure to install SP1 before you do anything else."
    Are you saying leave the dialog open and install SP1 or Press "Run Program", install it, then install SP1?

  58. Miguel Barbosa says:

    When trying to install SQL Server 2008 on Windows 7, during "installation progress" this will be stoped for a long time.
    It is at almost 80% of full installation and it is blocked in the function "SqlEngineDBStartConfigAction_install_configrc_Cpu32".
    Is this a known issue, how can I solve it?
    Kind Regards

  59. diNa says:

    hey, i'm running my program in Win7 32bit. my program is use VB 6.0, SQL Server 2008 and CR 10. then i get this msg " Invalid procedure call or argument"
    first, i guess that the error come from my program, but when i install it to the XP SP2 nothing wrong with it.
    then why can't i running it in Win7

  60. Tu says:

    I turned off the firewall and then runned the setup.exe again. Then it worked like champ

  61. Naveen says:

    hey guys me too had the same problem while installing sql server 2008
    i followed the link given below and i'm able to complete my installation too. i hope this would be useful for u too…

  62. Arvind Dungerwal says:

    Thansk thorhalvor for your valuable tips.

  63. Sonal says:

    Thanks…usfull info 🙂

  64. RickButler says:

    Thanks! I just moved to Win 7 x64 and thought I was screwed. Whew! Restarting the install worked like a champ. 🙂

  65. AaronBertrand says:

    Thor, yes, firewall configuration can be a stumbling block.  During setup you are warned about firewall issues, but setup lets you continue.  You can take a look at this page to determine how to configure it correctly (turning it off kind of defeats the purpose, even if only temporarily, and often people will forget to turn it back on).

  66. thorhalvor says:

    I turned off the firewall and then runned the setup.exe again. Then it worked!