Sign up ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When trying to install SQL Server 2008 Developer and Enterprise editions on a Windows 7 box I've got this message:

Rule "Restart computer" failed. A computer restart is required. You must restart this computer before installing SQL Server.

Of course I already restarted 10 times.

I've found a post in a forum saying that I should clear

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations

but I don't have such a key.

share|improve this question
Are you running any other versions or instances of sql server or any other servers for that matter? – Troggy Dec 4 '09 at 19:52
I had sql server 2005 express installed with visual studio 2008. – Pablo Dec 5 '09 at 10:01
Clearing that Reg Key worked for me – Greg B Jan 7 '10 at 17:32
See also… – Vadzim Jan 12 at 16:02

6 Answers 6

.... after installing SQL Server 2008 Express, put the value (might be multiple lines) back into this setting. So copy them somewhere!


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager is the path. "Session Manager" is the folder. "PendingFileRenameOperations" is the setting. Clear the value in that setting.

Common mistake:

You'll notice that there are more folders under the "Session Manager" folder. Don't look there. Those are sub-folders. Once you've clicked on the "Session Manager" folder, find the setting on the right.

share|improve this answer

like stated in there is also an important key from windowsupdate

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired

this must also be 0 or not present.

share|improve this answer

I've tried SkipRules option from another answer with SQL Server Express 2014:

  • run SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU.exe just to extract files then close it

  • cd SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU

  • setup.exe /ACTION=INSTALL /X86 /SkipRules=RebootRequiredCheck

Then the setup process didn't complain on "Reboot required" rule but still failed at the end with the following messages:

A previous installation required a reboot of the machine for changes to take effect. To proceed, restart your computer and then run Setup again.

One or more affected files have operations pending. You must restart your computer after the setup process is completed.

Then I tried to temporarily delete both registry keys HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired mentioned in other answers here. After that setup run smoothly and everything worked without reboot.

share|improve this answer

When the tricks with clearing the registry keys don't work: - HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired

You might try a reboot from the command line. Press Windows+R for the "Run" dialog box and type cmd and press enter to start the command line.

The command for a forced reboot with zero seconds delay is "shutdown -r -f -t 0".

This might be handy when you use a Windows 8 computer or a Win8.1 because a shutdown is sometimes not a real shutdown but a "hybrid shutdown" which is in fact a hibernate state to enable "Fast Boot".

share|improve this answer
+1 this was the only thing that worked out of the suggestions in this thread and the MSDN threads. – mrjoltcola Jul 22 at 17:24
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Maybe there's a better solution, but the only one I could find was re-installing. Mental note: always install SQL Server first.

share|improve this answer

Go into Windows -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services and stop all of the SQL Server Services. Then just hit Re-run.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.