Troubleshooting SQL Server 2008 Installation on Windows Server 2008 R2

By:   |   Comments (5)   |   Related: > Install and Uninstall


When installing SQL Server 2008 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 system, you may get the following message: "You must use the Role Management Tool to install or configure Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1". Following that, another error message pops up: "Microsoft .NET 3.5 installation has failed. SQL Server 2008 Setup requires .NET Framework 3.5 to be installed.". The installation then aborts.  In this tip we cover how to get past this issue so you can complete the installation.


A few days ago I was installing SQL Server 2008 x64 bit Standard Edition on a newly commissioned database server . The server was installed with Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 bit Standard Edition. The application vendor's documentation had specified SQL 2008 as the preferred DB back-end so I decided not to go ahead with SQL 2008 R2.

The installer had shown me the following warning message at the very beginning:

SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008 R2: Warning message for minimum version 

This was fairly straightforward - I was going to install SP3 as part of post-installation configuration anyway, so I decided to move forward with "Run Program".

Next came the .NET Framework setup part: the following message was shown, which was also expected:

SQL Server 2008 Installation Message for .NET Framework 

I was then expecting the setup program to finish extracting and installing the required packages, but halfway through the following message-box popped up:

SQL Server 2008 Installation .NET Framework Error Message 

After clicking OK, another message followed:

SQL Server 2008 Installation .NET Framework Error Message 

Clicking OK then quit the installer, leaving me wondering what went wrong. A bit of researching allowed me to understand the reason. The error was caused by the fact that although Windows Server 2008 R2 ships with .NET Framework 3.5, it's not installed/enabled by default. To make things work, it has to be added as a feature.

Just to be sure on my part, I looked for the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\.NET Framework Setup. The version listed under the NDP folder showed a value of 2.0 

Checking registry values for .NET Framework version 

I then started the Server Manager by going to Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Server Manager. Selecting the Features node on the left side navigation pane showed a link on the right side detail pane "Add Features"

Windows Server Manager 

As I clicked on it, the following screen appeared:

Windows Server Manager: adding .NET Framework 3.5 

I knew what features I wanted to have installed. Selecting the check box for ".NET Framework 3.5.1 Features" and clicking  on "Install" took me to the following screen:

Windows Server Manager: adding role services 

As I agreed to add the required Role Services,  the next few steps were intuitive:

Windows Server Manager: Add Features wizard 
Add features through Windows Server Manager: Select role services 
Add features through Windows Server Manager: Confirm Selections 
Add features through Windows Server Manager: installation progress 
Add features through Windows Server Manager: installation results 
Add features through Windows Server Manager: installation results 

I then decided to check the registry values again. This time, it showed the version 3.5 folder:

Checking registry values for .NET Framework version 

I was then able to proceed with the regular installation of SQL Server and the Service Pack installation after that.

Next Steps
  • Refer to the Microsoft TechNet article about known issues for SQL Server 2008 installations.
  • Learn more about installing, checking versions and upgrading .NET Framework.
  • Learn more about using Windows Server Manager and how you can assign roles, add features etc.

sql server categories

sql server webinars

subscribe to mssqltips

sql server tutorials

sql server white papers

next tip

About the author
MSSQLTips author Sadequl Hussain Sadequl Hussain has been working with SQL Server since version 6.5 and his life as a DBA has seen him managing mission critical systems.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

View all my tips

Comments For This Article

Monday, February 4, 2013 - 9:36:53 PM - Zach Back To Top (21911)

thanks for this info and i installed my sql 2008 r2 on our windows server 2012. But after i applied the SP2 and restart the windows server 2012 it just shows blank screen. Does anyone encounter this issue? Any suggesstion?

Monday, February 4, 2013 - 3:50:31 PM - Sajal Bagchi Back To Top (21905)

WOW !!! that was a good information. Thank you so much.

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 11:10:38 AM - BANG Back To Top (16704)

Thanks for the info.............


Monday, March 19, 2012 - 2:26:02 AM - Ravi Back To Top (16488)

sooper helpful information and screenshots...wonderfull....Thank you very much HUSSAIN....


Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 10:04:05 AM - JR Back To Top (16385)

Thank you for the post.

get free sql tips
agree to terms