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Rule "Restart computer" failed when installing SQL Server 2008

December 4Hits:4

When trying to install SQL Server 2008 Developer and Enterprise editions on a Windows 7 box I've got this message:

Rule "Restart computer" failed. A computer restart is required. You must restart this computer before installing SQL Server.

Of course I already restarted 10 times.

I've found a post in a forum saying that I should clear

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations 

but I don't have such a key.


.... after installing SQL Server 2008 Express, put the value (might be multiple lines) back into this setting. So copy them somewhere!


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager is the path. "Session Manager" is the folder. "PendingFileRenameOperations" is the setting. Clear the value in that setting.

Common mistake:

You'll notice that there are more folders under the "Session Manager" folder. Don't look there. Those are sub-folders. Once you've clicked on the "Session Manager" folder, find the setting on the right.

like stated in http://blogs.msdn.com/b/hansr/archive/2006/02/17/patchreboot.aspx there is also an important key from windowsupdate

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired

this must also be 0 or not present.

I've tried SkipRules option from another answer with SQL Server Express 2014:

  • run SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU.exe just to extract files then close it
  • cd SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU
  • setup.exe /ACTION=INSTALL /X86 /SkipRules=RebootRequiredCheck

Then the setup process didn't complain on "Reboot required" rule but still failed at the end with the following messages:

A previous installation required a reboot of the machine for changes to take effect. To proceed, restart your computer and then run Setup again.

One or more affected files have operations pending. You must restart your computer after the setup process is completed.

Then I tried to temporarily delete both registry keys HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired mentioned in other answers here. After that setup run smoothly and everything worked without reboot.

When the tricks with clearing the registry keys don't work: - HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired

You might try a reboot from the command line. Press Windows+R for the "Run" dialog box and type cmd and press enter to start the command line.

The command for a forced reboot with zero seconds delay is "shutdown -r -f -t 0".

This might be handy when you use a Windows 8 computer or a Win8.1 because a shutdown is sometimes not a real shutdown but a "hybrid shutdown" which is in fact a hibernate state to enable "Fast Boot".

Maybe there's a better solution, but the only one I could find was re-installing. Mental note: always install SQL Server first.

Go into Windows -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services and stop all of the SQL Server Services. Then just hit Re-run.

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