I have SQL Server personal edition on my desktop, Beta 2 and decided to upgrade to the RTM (released to manufacturing) version. Mainly since I have been running Beta 2 on this desktop for five months and was getting worried that it would expire (I think it had a six month life). Also, it was Friday and not that busy. I have a Dell OptiPlex GX110 that has some fast Pentium (after 300MHz, I stopped worrying about CPU speed on my desktop), 128MB of RAM, a single big IDE hard drive (after 4GB, I stopped even noticing how much disk space I had) and runs Windows 2000 Professional, SP1 on my corporate domain. I had installed Beta 2 in July when I got this machine and since have added Windows 2000 Service Pack 1.

The Process - Getting Started

First problem was my desktop CD would not read the disk. A few minutes of testing verified that my desktop has a problem, so I decided to use my laptop CD-ROM and share it out across the network. That took a minute on the laptop, then I opened an Explorer window on my desktop, selected the share and double clicked the Autorun.exe icon.

The first thing is the splash screen which has options for installing the server components, installing prerequisites (Windows 95 only), browsing the help files, reading the release notes, or visiting the SQL Server website. An image of this is below

I chose Release Notes since I wanted to be sure that there I could even upgrade Beta 2. In the past, MS has had numerous problems upgrading Beta software and most installations result in "uninstall" beta and then install the RTM software.

NOTE:In general, for new software I am not usually concerned with the release notes before install (how many installs require anything more than clicking For upgrades, however, I highly recommend that you read the release notes prior to installing so nothing breaks.

I usually first browse through the release notes looking for some information about the Beta software, required software or hardware, and any steps to take to avoid problems. Nothing. So then I do a Find on "beta" and find one small paragraph that talks about Analysis Services and how you need to reprocess cubes after upgrading. I know Microsoft is getting better at installing software and upgrading, but I am still nervous about the upgrade.

I return to the splash screen and select the "browse help" option. This gives met the familiar SQL Server Books Online application. I then glance through the installation options for a few minutes, but again, I find nothing. So then I decide to search "beta" again. I get one hit from the SQL Server Installation Help book. In this one I find that you can upgrade the Beta version by choosing "Upgrade" from the setup program.

The Process - Installation

So now I am ready and start the install. First I get some welcome screen. Not sure why this comes up, but I click "Next" and proceed. The next screen asks for whether I want to install on my local machine or a remote machine. There is a also a virtual server option, but it is greyed out. I choose local and proceed.

Here is where I get the choice to "create a new instance", "upgrade, remove, or add components to an existing instance of SQL Server", or select "Advanced Options". Since I read about this a few minutes ago, I select "Upgrade".

Now a I get a box where I would choose the instance to upgrade. Since my desktop has only a single instance, the "default" box is greyed out along with the instance drop down.

I click next and get a dialog with two radio buttons, "Uninstall" or "Upgrade". I choose upgrade. (Sorry, I forgot to grab the images as I proceeded, and I can no longer get to the upgrade screens).

The next dialog gives me the choice to upgrade my SQL tools and the data. This screen mentions that checking the box allows me to upgrade the current installation to a newer release of the version. Not sure about that grammar, but I think I know what this means.

The next screen is the security screen where I can enter the sa password or use NT authentication. I use NT authentication since I am a domain admin and this should work.

Clicking next at this point starts the upgrade process. It first checks to see if it can proceed. After a couple minutes, I get a dialog that informs me that setup can proceed. I get the opportunity to go back and change any settings I made or proceed. Since I went through this, backed up, and went again so I could make these notes, I click "next" and let the upgrade begin.

After a couple more minutes, I get a dialog that I have some services running that I need to stop to allow setup to proceed. One of these is the personal IIS server I have, so I shut this one down. The other is Windows Media Player where I am listening to some MP3s. Reluctantly I shut this down as well.

I next get a box that informs me MDAC 2.6 will be installed. I click next and the real installation begins. I get the familiar VB installation with the three graphs on the left and the progress bar in the middle. The installation takes quite awhile, so I suspect that most if not all files were upgraded.

Once the progress bar completes, I get a message that the server is being initialized for the upgrade process. Not sure what is happening now, but I decide to cross my fingers. After a few minutes I get a message in the screen that a script (1 of 17) is being run. Slowly I watch as each script is run until we get to 17. The names of the scripts are given as each is being run, so I suspect one could dig through them to find out exactly what is happening. I regret to report that I am not that person, so I leave it to someone else to dig into the internals of what happens during an upgrade.

The process finally completed and I got a dialog asking me to restart the computer. Since I had to stop my Media Player anyway, I selected "Yes" and let the computer restart automatically for me.

After the restart, the computer comes up with no errors. I run Enterprise Manager and it appears to be a bit snappier. I browse a couple servers, which are all there, alter a table and everything works fine. It even asks me to save the change script that I had configured before.

I next run Query Analyzer and the first thing I notice is the drop down which used to contain all my servers is empty. I am a little excited when I enter the IP of our production SQL Server which is hosted at another location. The connection is definitely snappier. When I started using beta 2, this connection was extremely slow and often I got an error message between the time the client connected and the query window appeared. As an informal test, I disconnect and reconnect a few times and it is definitely quicker.I can even create a new window based on this one. Something that rarely worked with the Beta 2 Query Analyzer.


I also run the Beta 2 personal edition on my laptop (Toshiba TECRA 8000, Windows 2000 Professional, 128MB RAM, 4GB ) and needed to upgrade this computer as well. The process was the same with a couple small exceptions:

  • I did not read the release notes :)
  • After the installation, there was no reboot message
  • Instead of rebooting, I restarted the MSSQL service and connected to the server without and errors. All my servers were still listed in EM.
  • When I clicked on a server name, instead of the HTML summary page, I got a list of the sub folders in the right pane.
  • After a reboot, the same effect in EM as above, no HTML summary page. One other note, all my SQL Servers were gone and I had to re-register them.
That's about it. Other than these differences, everything appears to be working and no errors were reported.


No earth-shattering news in this article. Nothing special, but I can report that for my simple upgrade from Beta 2, there were no issues. One thing that I usually look for prior to an upgrade is an article like this one just to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling before I proceed. Since I could not find one, I decided to be the guinnee pig for this one. I will tackle a v7.0 upgrade to SQL Server 2000 on another box next week and let you know how that works.

As always, send me comments and questions.

Steve Jones
November 2000