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SQL 2005 installation oddity on multicore processors.

There is an issue with installing SQL 2005 on systems that have an odd (as in not even) number of cores/processors.  The conditions are as follows:

  • The ratio between logical processors and physical sockets is not a power of 2. For example, the computer has a single socket together with a triple-core processor.
  • The number of physical cores is not a power of 2.
  • The total number of CPUs is an odd number. For example, there are seven or nine CPUs.

Note that these issues are fixed in SP2, but the catch 22 is that SQL 2005 setup (non express editions) is not integrated. That is you need to install SQL 2005 first and then upgrade to SP2. So how will you get to SP2 if you cannot install SQL 2005 at all? There are three methods mentioned by Microsoft:

  1. Copy the SQL 2005 setup and SP2 files to local folders. Expand the SP2 package. Point the SQL 2005 setup binary to the expanded package and run setup. Run the SP2 patch. Link.
  2. Temporarily change the number of logical processors to one. Start>Run>Msconfig>BOOT.INI>Advanced options>/NUMPROC=1. Install SQL 2005 and upgrade to SP2. Change back processor count. Link.
  3. Run SQL 2005 setup. When the setup fails, you get a ‘Retry’ option. Replace the Sqlservr.exe and Sqlos.dll files in the BINN folder with the same files from the SP2 package. Retry. Link.

Note: I am not sure if the author meant ‘power of 2’ (1,2,4,8,16,32) or ‘multiple of 2’ (2,4,6,8,10). The reasoning being that I have installed SQL 2005 on a 24 core (physical) machine.