Tip of the day: Mount ISO files as drives

When you can download lots of DVD and CD images from likes of MSDN it can become rather annoying having to burn ISO images to physical CDs or DVDs. However, Virtual Clone Drive mounts an ISO image as a virtual drive so you don’t have to burn physical drives. This saves on the cost of physical disks and once mounted will typically run faster than a CD or DVD drive.

Installing SQL Server 2005 on Vista

Perhaps this is not so much an issue with installing SQL Server 2005 on Vista, but of the way I install SQL Server 2005 on Vista, or even more accurately install it on my laptop on Vista.

A SQL Server will expect to run constantly on the machine that it is installed on. However, not on my laptop. I generally have SQL Server turned off on my laptop because it uses resources that it does not need. I don’t frequently use SQL Server on my laptop but I do need it sometimes. Because of this, during the installation I customise it so that the SQL Server services do not start up automatically as they normally would.

There is a slight problem with this approach I’ve discovered when installing on Vista. SQL Server 2005 came out before Windows Vista and they don’t actually get along out of the box. You have to install SQL Server 2005 SP2 (or so several dialogs claim) before you can start working with SQL Server 2005 on Windows Vista.

At the end of the process for installing SP2 it will let you know that admin users on the Vista box will not be admin in SQL Server unless you are explicit about which users to add. It then launches a “SQL Server 2005 User Provisioning Tool for Vista” to allow you to set up the admin users. However, if the SQL Server services are not running it cannot do this – the User Provisioning Tool will run, but when you apply the changes it will popup an error message and quit. So, it would seem that what I should have done is let the installer get on with running SQL Server 2005 when it finished so that the admin users could be set up. However, I didn’t and it failed. So, without any users set up on the SQL Server I could not log in.

After hunting around on disk for this User Provisioning Tool I discovered that the SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration tool will allow me to launch the tool by pressing the “Add New Administrator” link in its dialog. So, with the SQL Server services (all of them indicating in the User Provisioning Tool, in my case the Database Engine and the Analysis Services) running I add myself to the list of users, click OK and…. A moment later everything seem to work. There is no confirmation, the dialog just goes away without any error messages. To test it worked I opened up the SQL Server Management Studio and attempt to log in. It works. I’m happy.

Now, finally, I go and limit the amount of memory I’m prepared to allow SQL Server to use. See my post on managing SQL Server’s memory usage. It is a laptop after all…

Please note that this was using SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition.

SQL Server 2008 (July CTP): More installation woes

I’ve done it again. I’ve attempted to install SQL Server 2008 (this time the July 2007 CTP) and it hasn’t quite gone the way I expected.

This time there was no Management Studio. Why? Well, when I tried to go through the set up process again, I got a message that said “The following components you chose to install are already installed on the machine… Workstation components, Books Online and development tools 9.2.3042.00”. The first time round I just ignored it, but this time I paid more attention and clicked the button to give me details. It said:

Name: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Tools Express Edition
Reason: Your upgrade is blocked. For more information about upgrade support, see the “Version and Edition Upgrades” and “Hardware and Software Requirements” topics in SQL Server 2008 Setup Help or SQL Server 2008 Books Online.

Okay – So, I already have SQL Server 2005 express edition installed, but there is still no management studio and no books online (that I can see). I espcially like the way it helpfully directs me to go to a topic in a help file it failed to install so I can resolve my problem.

Not to worry though… I discovered that the books online for the July CTP are available as a separate download too.

Also, I’m not entirely sure why it is talking about upgrades. I was planning to have it sit side-by-side, just like all the previous versions. But, it looks like I can’t do that. The BOL says “Presence of SQL Server 2005 Management Tools or BI Development Studio will block installation of SQL Server 2008 Management Tools and BI Development Studio.”

Oh, well… I guess intalling the July CTP in the same virtual machine as the Orcas Beta 2 isn’t going to work – I’m just going to have to install it in its own virtual PC now.


Installing SQL Server 2008 (Katmai)

I’m just installing SQL Server 2008 (Codenamed Katmai) June 2007 CTP. The installation isn’t without its problems – which is fine for the moment. It is a CTP after all.

The main problem is with the prerequisits. The installer will try an install them for you, but it fails to get as far as installing even the .NET Framework. It would seem that these things have to be installed manually in advance at the moment.

If installing the full thing SQL Server 2008 does require access to IIS. I don’t think I’ll by using any of those features so I’m not going to bother – we’ll see how that works out. It will be interesting to see if it is easy to go back and add features or if it will require a complete reinstall. I’d imagine that most people will install just the minimum they need and go back and install more as they need it. This helps keep the attack surface minimised.

So, other than the installation of the prerequisits being a bit a bit dodgy everything else seems to have gone very smoothly. Hopefully, I’ll be playing with all the new spatial stuff. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.