Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SQL Server 2005 setup fails when MSXML Core Services 6.0 Service Pack 2 has already been installed

I've been trying to install SQL Server 2005 with no success. I kept on getting a fatal error. This sent me onto the web hunting for a solution, until I found an article on Microsoft Help and Support about an SQL installation issue introduced by XP Service Pack 3.

Here are some of my findings.


Consider the following scenario:
  • You have a Windows XP-based computer on which you apply the update for Microsoft XML Core Services (MSXML) 6.0 that is described in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

    954459 ( ) MS08-069: Description of the security update for XML Core Services 6.0: November 11, 2008
  • After you apply this MSXML update, you upgrade the computer to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).
When you try to install Microsoft SQL Server 2005 in this scenario, you receive the following error message:

Installation of MSXML 6 Service Pack 2 (KB954459) failed because a higher version already exists on the machine. To proceed, uninstall the higher version and then run MSXML 6 Service Pack 2 (KB954459) Setup again. (I didn't even get this error on install. I got an send error prompt.)

If you examine the SQL Server setup log file, you find that the following error has been logged:
This package is not supported on this operating system.
SkipInstallCA. Return value 3.

Fatal error during installation
MainEngineThread is returning 1603

Error code 1603
Product: MSXML 6.0 Parser (KB933579)
Installation failed.

If you examine the MSXML setup log file, you may find that the following error has been logged:
Action start Time: SkipInstallCA.
This package is not supported on this operating system.
Action ended Time: SkipInstallCA. Return value 3.
Action ended Time: INSTALL. Return value 3.
MSI (s) (9C:00) [Time]: Note: 1: 1729
MSI (s) (9C:00) [Time]: Product: MSXML 6 Service Pack 2 (KB954459) -- Configuration failed. ……
MSI (s) (A0:D0) [Time]: Note: 1: 1708
MSI (s) (A0:D0) [Time]: Product: MSXML 6 Service Pack 2 (KB954459) -- Installation failed.


The solution is quite simple. Just follow these steps.
  1. Download the Windows Installer CleanUp utility.
  2. Run the Windows Installer CleanUp utility.
  3. Select MSXML6 Service Pack 2 (KB954459) [6.20.1099.0] in the list, and then click Remove.
  4. Install SQL Server 2005.

This worked for me and it was a quick fix. Hope this helps and MS doesn't waste as much of your time as it wasted mine.



  1. Appreciate this, it did work for me. Was having a problem with MSXML 6 SP2 on an XP Professional system. Uninstalled it per instructions and now is installing properly.

  2. Excellent tip, it saved my morning as I couldn't figure out what was wrong. It's all working now

  3. Thanks for the tip .. and you did save me a bunch of time !

  4. worked for me
    u can download tool here now: