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Considerations for Installing SQL Server Using SysPrep

SQL Server SysPrep allows you to prepare a stand-alone instance of SQL Server on a computer and to complete the configuration at a later time. SQL Server SysPrep involves a two-step process to get to a configured stand-alone instance of SQL Server. The steps include the following:

  • Prepare Image

    This step stops the installation process after the product binaries are installed, without configuring the computer, network, or account-specific information for the instance of SQL Server that is being prepared.

  • Complete Image

    This step enables you to complete the configuration of a prepared instance of SQL Server. During this step, you can provide the computer, network, and account-specific information.

For more information about how to install SQL Server using SysPrep, see Install SQL Server 2014 Using SysPrep.

Common Uses for SQL Server SysPrep

You can use the SQL Server SysPrep capability in any of the following ways:

  • By using the Prepare Image step, you can prepare one or more unconfigured instances of SQL Server on the same computer. You can configure these prepared instances by using the Complete Image step on the same computer.

  • You can capture the SQL Server Setup configuration file of the prepared instance and use it to prepare additional unconfigured SQL Server instances on multiple computers for later configuration.

  • In combination with the Windows System Preparation tool (also known as Windows SysPrep); you can create an image of the operating system including the unconfigured prepared instances of SQL Server on the source computer. You can then deploy the operating system image to multiple computers. After you complete the configuration of the operating system, you can configure the prepared instances by using the Complete Image step of SQL Server Setup.

    The Windows SysPrep tool is used to prepare Windows operating system images. It is used to capture a customized image of the operating system for deployment throughout an organization. For more information about SysPrep and its uses, see What is SysPrep.

Installation Media Considerations

If you are using a full version of SQL Server, consider the following:

  • Non-Express editions of SQL Server:

    • The Prepare Image step uses SQL Server Evaluation edition to install the product binaries. When the instance is completed, the edition of SQL Server depends on the product ID provided during the complete image step.

    • If you provide an Evaluation edition product ID, the evaluation period is set to expire 180 days after the prepared instance is completed.

  • Express editions of SQL Server:

    • To prepare an instance of SQL Server Express editions, use the Express installation media.

    • You cannot specify Product IDs for a prepared instance of SQL Server Express editions.

Supported SQL Server Installations

SysPrep in SQL Server 2014 supports all features, including tools, of SQL Server.

You can prepare multiple instances for side-by-side installations of SQL Server 2014 or earlier versions. The features of these instances must support SysPrep.

The SQL Server Native Client is automatically installed and completed at the end of the prepare image step.

SQL Server Browser and SQL Server Writer are automatically prepared when you prepare an instance of SQL Server. They are completed when you complete the SQL Server instance by using the Complete Image step.

For information about supported editions of SQL Server, see Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2014.

You can perform an edition upgrade while configuring a prepared instance of SQL Server. This option is not supported for SQL Server Express editions.

Beginning in SQL Server 2014, SQL Server SysPrep supports SQL Server failover cluster installations from the command line.

SQL Server SysPrep Limitations

Repairing a prepared instance is not supported. If Setup fails during the Prepare Image or Complete Image step, you must run uninstall.

Prepare Image

The Prepare Image step installs the SQL Server product and features but does not configure the installation.

The SQL Server features to be installed and the installation location for SQL Server product installation files can be specified during this step. You can prepare an instance of SQL Server either through the Image Preparation of a stand-alone instance for SysPrep deployment on the Advanced page of the Installation Center or from the command prompt.

  • You can prepare multiple instances of SQL Server on the same computer that can be completed later.

  • You can add or remove features that are supported for SysPrep installations from the existing prepared instances of SQL Server.

After the instance is prepared, a shortcut on the Start menu becomes available to complete the configuration of the prepared instance of SQL Server.

Complete Image

You can complete the prepared instances of SQL Server by using either of the following methods:

  • Use the shortcut on the Start menu.

  • Access the Image completion of a prepared stand-alone instance step on the Advanced page of the Installation Center.