How to install Microsoft SQL 2012 R2

Long before the days of managed database services in the cloud, technical engineers had to build and deploy databases directly onto the operating system. One of the most common tasks I completed was installing Microsoft SQL server on Windows Server.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 R2 (SQL-2012)is a robust relational database management system developed by Microsoft and released in April 2012. It offers a variety of features and capabilities for storing, organizing, and managing data. In addition, SQL Server 2012 R2 provides several improvements and new features such as AlwaysOn Availability Groups, Columnstore Indexes, enhanced security, Power View, and improved T-SQL. These features provide better reliability, scalability, and performance for businesses and organizations that rely on data management and analysis.

Here is a quick guide on installing SQL-2012 onto a Windows Server 2012 R2 platform.


Check the system requirements: Before installing SQL Server 2012 R2, ensure your system meets the minimum hardware and software requirements. You can find the criteria on Microsoft’s website.

Download the SQL Server installer: You can download the SQL Server 2012 R2 installer from the Microsoft website or use the installation media if you have it.

Step 1 – Insert SQL-2012 Media into the server.

Before beginning the installation of SQL Server 2012, ensure you have the SQL Server installation media ready. Follow these detailed steps to insert the media into the server:

  • Physical Media (DVD):
    • If you have the SQL Server installation media on a physical DVD, open the server’s optical drive.
  • Virtual Media (ISO/Images):
    • In case you are using virtual media, such as an ISO file, you have several options:
      • Mount ISO Directly:
        • If the ISO file is stored locally, you can mount it directly to the server by using virtual drive software.
      • Network Location:
        • Alternatively, if the ISO is on a network location, ensure the server has access to that network resource.
  • Using Remote Connections:
    • If the SQL-2012 media is located on a remote server, establish a secure connection to that server. This could involve using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or other remote access tools.
  • Verify Accessibility:
    • Before proceeding, double-check that the server can access the SQL-2012 media. This is crucial to ensure a seamless installation process.
  • Exploring Additional Options:
    • Depending on your server setup, consider exploring advanced options, such as:
      • Local Copies: If you have a local copy of the SQL Server installation media on the server’s hard drive, ensure it is accessible.
      • Network Shares: If the SQL-2012 media is on a network share, make sure the server has the necessary permissions to access it.
  • Preparing for Installation:
    • Once the SQL-2012 media is successfully accessible by the server, you are ready to proceed with the installation. Follow the subsequent steps in your procedure to initiate the SQL Server installation

Example of the Setup splash screen

Step 2 – Run the Setup on the media

  • Run Setup from DVD.
  • Run the installer: Double-click the SQL Server installer to launch the installation wizard.

After successfully inserting the SQL Server 2012 media into the server, follow these steps to initiate the installation process:

  • Navigate to the Installation Media:
    • Open File Explorer and browse to the location where the SQL Server 2012 media is accessible. This could be the DVD drive, a mounted virtual drive, or a network location.
  • Locate the Setup Executable:
    • Look for the setup executable file within the media directory. This file is typically named “setup.exe” or “setup.bat.”
  • Run the Installer:
    • Double-click the SQL Server installer executable to launch the installation wizard. If you encounter User Account Control (UAC) prompts, confirm the action to proceed with administrative privileges.
  • Initialization Process:
    • The installer will initiate an initialization process, loading necessary files and components. This may take a few moments, depending on the server’s processing speed.

The server will ensure you have installed all the required roles before installing. You will be prompted here and asked to install additional software, such as Visual Basic if there are any issues.

  • Welcome Screen:
    • Once the initialization is complete, the installation wizard’s welcome screen will appear. Take a moment to review any introductory information provided.
  • Select Installation Type:
    • The installation wizard will prompt you to choose an installation type. Options may include “New SQL Server stand-alone installation” or “Add features to an existing instance.” Select the appropriate option based on your requirements.
  • License Terms:
    • Review and accept the license terms by clicking the checkbox indicating your agreement. Click “Next” to proceed.
  • Feature Selection:
    • Select the SQL Server features you want to install. This could include Database Engine Services, SQL Server Replication, Full-Text and Semantic Extractions, etc. Customize the feature selection based on your specific needs.

Accept the Licence, then Select the installation type: Choose the one that best suits your needs. For example, you can install the database engine, SQL Server Management Studio, or Reporting Services.

Ensure Shared Feature Directories are pointing to the D:\ Drive.

  • Instance Configuration:
    • Specify the SQL Server instance name and choose the instance features. You can opt for a default instance or provide a unique name for a named instance.
  • Server Configuration:
    • Configure server authentication mode (Windows or Mixed Mode) and set the necessary SQL Server administrator accounts and passwords.
  • Database Engine Configuration:
    • Customize settings for the Database Engine, including authentication mode, administrators, and data directories.
  • Ready to Install:
    • Review the summary of your selected configurations on the “Ready to Install” screen. Click “Install” to commence the installation process.
  • Installation Progress:
    • The installer will now execute the installation based on your chosen configurations. A progress bar will indicate the completion status.
  • Completion Screen:
    • Once the installation is successful, a completion screen will provide details. You can also review summary logs to ensure a smooth installation process.

On Instance Configuration, leave as Default instance, click next

On the Server configuration screen, change the account name to NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM. No Password is required. This can be changed later.

Important :

On Database Engine Configuration, ensure you select

  • Mixed Mode (SQL Server authentication and Windows authentication).
  • Input the pre-defined password (this is for the SA account).

Adding the local Administrator as a SQL Admin is also advised in the Specify SQL server administrators section.

  • Under the Data Directories tab, ensure you choose:
    • S:\ for Database files
    • L:\ for Logs
  • On the Analysis Services configuration, add the Current User – (This can be changed later in SQL Server Management Studio)
  • Under Reporting Services Configuration, select “install, but do not configure the report server” – (This can be changed later in SQL Server Management Studio)
  • On the next screen, Distributed Replay Controller, ensure set as below and click next.
  • On the next screen, Distributed Replay Client, ensure set as below and click next.
  • On the next screen, Error Reporting, ensure the tick box is blank and click next.
  • Click Next to bring up the final screen, “Ready to install”, and choose INSTALL
  • The installation will take about 30 minutes to complete.
  • Once completed, open SQL Server Management Studio and log in with the Mixed Mode SA account you created earlier.
  • Log in with the SA account or Administrator.
  • Expand the column on the left; if you have a green “play” button, SQL is running.
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Richard Bailey, a seasoned tech enthusiast, combines a passion for innovation with a knack for simplifying complex concepts. With over a decade in the industry, he's pioneered transformative solutions, blending creativity with technical prowess. An avid writer, Richard's articles resonate with readers, offering insightful perspectives that bridge the gap between technology and everyday life. His commitment to excellence and tireless pursuit of knowledge continues to inspire and shape the tech landscape.

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