In-Place Upgrade failure from SQL Server 2008 SP1 to SQL Server 2008 R2

Sep 30, 2013 / By Prakash Karia

Tags: ,

Recently I was trying to upgrade SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2008 R2. The upgrade failed with error message below.


TITLE: Message Details


The Instance ID ‘MSSQLSERVER’ is already in use by SQL Server instance ‘MSSQLSERVER.INACTIVE’. To continue, specify a unique Instance ID.







Brief Background of upgrade process:


Here we have an orphaned SQL instance named MSSQLServer.Inactive. Let’s understand the upgrade process here. During your upgrade, there are two stages:



Post- PointOfNoReturn


Point of No Return is a point at which 2008 R2 will take over the instance name and SQL Server 2008 will be then uninstalled.




In this scenario, the setup is failing at Pre-Point Of No Return otherwise we would have tried to repair the SQL Server 2008 R2 instance.


The first thing I tried was renaming the registry key (below) and upgrading it, but it did not help this time (this has helped in some cases)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL ServerInstance NamesSQLInactive


The second option is to remove the existing instance and reinstall a fresh default instance.

I tried to  uninstall the new SQL Server 2008 R2 instance from ADD/REMOVE Programs, but it was not showing the instance name as it was inactive.

Ran below command


setup /action=uninstall /instanceid=MSSQLSERVER  /features=SQLEngine,Replication


(You can select more features if it is installed in your environment. Refer Summary.txt for last upgrade failure)


After the uninstall was successfully completed, I was able to install the SQL Server 2008 R2 instance.



One Response to “In-Place Upgrade failure from SQL Server 2008 SP1 to SQL Server 2008 R2”

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>