SQL Server setup log locations and more

In order to efficiently troubleshoot problems involving failed setup, we need to use the setup logs. Once you know where the log files are located, you can start troubleshooting. What to look for in the log files is a separate topic in itself, but at least if you know where the log files are, then you can attempt to look for logical clues in the files. So, where are these log files located? Here’s a summary, listed by product and version. I took some efforts to compile the list of available rollup hotfixes and their relevant KB articles, hopefully that in itself is a very useful thing.

So, I hope the list and the notes below are very useful for you; please feel free to rate the article and provide comments as well!

Product Major Version 1

Product Level 2

Version post setup 3

Bulletins / KB Articles

Location of setup logs 4

SQL Server 2000 (8.0)









Post-SP4 GDR security rollup 7


MS08-040; 948110

%WINDIR%SQL2000-KB948110-v8.00.2050-x86-ENU.log; SQLServerClient_Hotfix_KB948110_*.log

[Recommended] Post-SP4 QFE security rollup 8.a




%WINDIR%SQL2000-KB948111-v8.00.2273-x86-ENU.log; SQLServerClient_Hotfix_KB948111_*.log 11

IA64 versions of the security rollups 13

Per respective packages mentioned above



Clustered instance 14



%WINDIR%Sqlclstr.log 5;

%WINDIR%sqlstpN.log from both nodes


Service Pack only:

%WINDIR%sqlspN.log from both nodes;

%WINDIR%remsetup.log from active node


Hotfix only:

Relevant hotfix files as described above from both nodes

SQL Server 2005 (9.0)




%ProgramFiles%Microsoft SQL Server90SetupBootstrapLOGFiles




%WINDIR%Hotfix 10




%ProgramFiles%Microsoft SQL Server90Setup BootstrapLOGHotfix; files will have KB921896 as part of their name.

Post-SP2 GDR security rollup (engine only)




Same as above; files will have KB948109 as part of their name.

Post-SP2 GDR security rollup (engine + Reporting Services)


MS08-052; 954606


Same as above; files will have KB954606 as part of their name.

Post-SP2 QFE security rollup (engine only)




Same as above; files will have KB948108 as part of their name.

Post-SP2 QFE security rollup (engine + Reporting Services)


MS08-052; 954607

Same as above; files will have KB954607 as part of their name.

CU #11 for SP2 8



Same as above; files will have KB958735 as part of their name.

[Recommended] SP3



Same as above; files will have KB955706 as part of their name.

CU #1 for SP3 8



Same as above; files will have KB959195 as part of their name.

Clustered instance


%WINDIR%tasksSchedLgU.Txt 6; Setup bootstrap will copy all the files from remote node to active node.

SQL Server 2008




%ProgramFiles%Microsoft SQL Server100Setup BootstrapLog 9

CU #2




Clustered instance


At the time of writing no special considerations are known.



  1. This is just the common name which we all tend to use, the value in brackets is the major version number used by the product itself.
  2. To determine the product level use SELECT SERVERPROPERTY(‘ProductLevel’). However this will not reflect the GDR / QFE hotfix status. It just shows the latest service pack.
  3. To determine the exact SQL Server build number / version, use SELECT SERVERPROPERTY(‘ProductVersion’). (More information about other product levels and version numbers is summarized in this KB article.)
  4. Here %WINDIR% refers to the location where Windows is installed (typically C:WINDOWS) and %PROGRAMFILES% denotes location of the Program Files folder (typically C:PROGRAM FILES).
  5. This file is only generated for SQL 2000 clustered instance installation. Service Pack installation will update this file, but subsequent hotfix installers will not update this file.
  6. The SQL Server 2005 RTM and service pack installers will launch the remote node setup program using Task Scheduler service. This log file is used to check if the remote task was actually started or not. Check this file (in addition to the regular setup files) on each node of your SQL failover cluster.
  7. GDR vs. QFE releases can be a confusing topic. Luckily they are explained very well in the following blog links:
  8. In general, note that applying a Cumulative Update should be done only if you are facing specific issues fixed by that update; doing so will take you to the QFE tree and you should apply the appropriate QFE rollup (if and when available.) This note applies to all rollups and Cumulative Updates.
    • 8.a However for SQL 2000 SP4, we might recommend being on the QFE tree due to the fact that there will be no further service packs for that product.
  9. There are no separate folders for RTM and hotfix / Service Pack installers. Instead, look at the relevant sub-folder of this folder with the latest time stamp to get to the latest installation files. Historical logs will be maintained in the subfolder with the respective timestamps.
  10. SQL Server 2005 SP1 is unique in the SQL 2005 chain because it stores its logs under the WindowsHotfix folder. Under that there are subfolders for each component, such as SQL9, SQLTools9 etc.
  11. The exact filename is dependent on the name of the self-extracting package which was executed. The SQL 2000 QFE rollup generates many more log files than the GDR installer. This is expected because the GDR security rollup only contains security fixes. The QFE security rollup contains bug fixes and the requisite security fixes. See this KB article for details.
  12. For what to look for in the log files, consider this topic from SQL Books Online. An additional reference for troubleshooting Windows Installer logs is found here.
  13. The hotfix installer for SQL 2000 IA64 is described in this KB article.
  14. Cluster delta specific instructions only; regular log files still apply.

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