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How do I overcome this SQL Server 2008 Express installation error?

I am the developer for an application and we package SQL Server 2008 Express w/SP3 with the application installer.  The installer installs the SQL server instance first, sets up the required databases, and then the application, which uses the instance, is installed.  Recently, our customer made some changes to the operating system images, which caused the sql server installer to start failing.  I don't know what the changes were that are causing the problem.  But, I have attached the sql server log file that identifies the point of failure.  I've looked into group policy settings, permissions on the registry folder, the sa rights, but have not identified anything that should be preventing the update.  I already know that the sa account must have the following rights (and the sa account does):   "Back up files and directories", "Debug Programs", and "Manage auditing and security log".  The Administrator group has all privileges on the folder in registry question.  I've looked into group policy settings (as much as I know how) and have found nothing.  What could possibly be causing the error in the attached error.  The screenshot error is what I get when I step through the installer.  The log file (at the end) is what I get when I run the installer using  usual "silent/quiet" method \QS.
SQLInstallationSecurityMicrosoft SQL Server 2008

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8/22/2022 - Mon

What was the install process before, if you recall did it?
It seems the failure is a consequence of missing .Net4.0.
The installation of .net4.0 requires a reboot for changes, which seems what your tos error suggests.
But the pop notice might be related to the TPS INSTALLER process wise after install of .net framework 4.0 does not stop the next step in order to reboot, but attempts to continue to the next step of likely deploying SQL server 2008 which fails because the system is  restart required state which the SQL installer check would reflect.

Did you try rebooting and restarting your installation? You basically need to build in a case where either software requiring reboots gets installed. There are many software packages that exist which do take this into account. Others separate the tasks of installing the prereqs from the application itself, and the main install rejects whenever systems don't have prereqs already. That's a way to get around having to take that into account required reboots: shifting the burden to the user more or less.

The information text in the status window in the screenshot on the right is probably a little misleading.  I coded it and a reboot is not required.  So, please disregard that.  This problem has nothing to do with the .net installer.  It happens regardless if that has to be installed or not.  The real error that I am trying to share is the black log window on the left of the screenshot.  That is the error.
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Walt Forbes

The detail.txt provides the answer to your issue. Possible issue is missing msxml.....

Your best bet to determine the issue is to run the ms SQL installer.
The error in detail.txt seems to suggest SQL is already installed. As noted, further down there is an ms link that could possibly explain the issue.

Are all systems having this issue running vista?

Have seen several similar issues that a remnant or an existing installed component interferes.

Your check is two fold? Check whether SQL server instance is installed, check whether DB is present? ......

No. This is not the answer. All systems are Windows 7. The sql log always references Vista. I don't know why, but that is how the logs post the entry.  This is from a clean is image. There is no remnant of anything that is sql server.  This is occurring on multiple machines for an installation attempt.

That is, an initial installation attempt.
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That is an initial installation of your package, the issue is whether the Image includes conflicting or missing items that are the cause of your issue.
The simple way to test is to attempt to install the SQL server 2008 express from the MS distribution package of the same vintage as your package and see whether it errors out.

The error reference link in your Summary


it does not match MS site not ..

The issue is that SQL server install attempt fails. This is the first I would do if I was in your place.

It is easier to test an install failure that should not, versus trying to figure out what is going on from the failure of a combined install package and the detection built into it.

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No one else provided the solution.  I figured it out on my own.