The Windows Club

The installer has encountered an unexpected error code 2203, while Installing SQL Server

This week we will discuss one of the most common error messages we get while we install SQL Server 2008 R2 on Windows systems. This is the fourth article of SQL Troubleshooting series we started four weeks ago. Last couple of weeks we discussed various error messages when installing SQL. This week we’ll discuss most of the common errors:

The installer has encountered an unexpected error. The error code is 2203. Database: C:\Windows\Installer\29cf05.ipi. Cannot open database file. System error -2147287035


Error writing to the file C:\Windows\Installer\29cf32.msi. Verify that you have access to that directory. Click retry to retry the failed action, or click ‘cancel’ to continue.

In the previous articles we discussed about the permissions required for the SQL Server to work properly. I’ll just mention once again that, when it comes to SQL installations, it’s best to always install it under Local Administrator’s account, rather than install it under Domain Administrator, because even though you are the domain administrator, you still might have some security restrictions. For a clear understanding, it’s best to refer to this TechNet article.

So as suggested, I would recommend to login aslocal administrator and try to install the SQL 2008 R2 again as see if it works. In most case scenarios this should work. If this didn’t work then we have to docouple of steps to resolve this problem. So let’s go into it.

The installer has encountered an unexpected error 2203

The first method is to give permission to the installer folder as mentioned in the error message. By default the Installer folder will be hidden so you need to unhide it first then proceed. Before we alter the permission of Installer it’s a good idea to create a system restore point just to be sure.

Now that we have create a system restore point let’s give permission to the Installer folder.

Now attempt to install SQL Server 2008 R2 again and see if it work.

The other common reason I have seen is that, with Security software like Norton, McAfee or Panda, etc. these sometimes create problems while installing SQL 2008 R2 and give out this error message. So it’s best to disable any security software on your computer completely and try to install the SQL Server 2008 R2 again and see if that work.

Sometimes it’s just bad timing, real-time virus scanner happens to be scanning the file in Installer at the same time as setup is trying to open the file and install from it, you will get this type of error. At other times, after a while it might fix itself by restarting the computer. Once you done that  attempt to install SQL Server 2008 R2 again and see if it work.

These methods should help you in resolving this error. In case of any assistance let us know through the comments section.