Friday, November 20, 2009

SQL Server MVP Deep Dives

Earlier this month, at the PASS 2009 Summit, a very special event took place – the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives book launch. As the title suggests, this is no ordinary SQL Server book, for several reasons:

Manning: SQL Server MVP Deep Dives
  • It was written by 53 MVPs;
  • 100 percent of authors' royalties have been donated to support War Child International, a network of independent organizations, working across the world to help children affected by war;
  • The content itself, all 59 chapters of it, is quite impressive – dealing with database design and architecture, database development, database administration, performance tuning and optimization, and business intelligence.

The book was edited by Paul Nielsen, Kalen Delaney, Greg Low, Adam Machanic, Paul S. Randal and Kimberly L. Trip, and published through Manning Publications. The book is available from several retailers, but when purchased directly from the publisher a larger amount of proceeds go to War Child.

So, whether you're looking for a good SQL Server book, a gift for a loved one, or would like to do your bit in supporting children in need, go to:

...(or click on the image above), and order your copy today.


Friday, April 10, 2009

[snap] Pending File Rename Operations?

I will never understand why some software/hardware vendors fail (forget?) to clean up the Windows registry after they've... well, fondled with it for reasons known only to them, such as during software installation or updates.

When installing SQL Server – the release or a service pack – on a machine where software from one of the aforementioned vendors has recently been installed or updated, the installation may fail with the following error message:

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

Although the solution to this problem may sound very straightforward, restarting may not always be enough (or even possible). Actually, in some cases a restart may not be needed at all – i.e. if the machine has already been restarted following the offending installation/update, but the registry hasn't been cleaned up automatically.

This is a very well known issue and a workaround has been known ever since SQL Server 2000 (e.g. KB 312995), and is not really a big deal anyway – only a single value needs to be removed from the registry.

So, if this is such a well known issue then why am I writing about it? Honestly, whenever I encounter this error I never seem to remember the exact name of the registry key that needs to be changed. Which can be somewhat frustrating. Not anymore!

What to do (in 69 words or less)

Warning! Changes to the registry may cause serious problems and even require re-installing the operating system!

Before attempting any changes to the registry, make sure you create a backup of the key you intend to edit (using the Export command in the Registry Editor).

The following registry key needs to be changed in the case of unsanitary installs:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager

The value that needs to be removed is PendingFileRenameOperations.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1

SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 has been released on April 7th 2009, bringing a few improvements to the setup process – on top of several important fixes.

Be sure to review the release notes before attempting installation.

The files can be downloaded from the following site:

The list of bugs fixed in SP1:


Sunday, March 08, 2009

SQL Server 2008 XPath Functions

The 2008 version of SQL Server has not introduced as many changes to its XPath implementation as one might have expected; nonetheless, two additional XPath functions have been added.

In fact, I'm very sure many of us have missed both of them ever since SQL Server 2005:

  • lower-case() – returns the text of the target node in lower case; and
  • upper-case() – returns the text of the target node in upper case.

Of course I've made sure this change is reflected in my older posts dealing with this particular subject:

For some time now I've also been looking more closely at the differences between SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 regarding the performance of XML queries, and (as soon as I find the time to go through my findings and – ideally – get some additional information) I'll post back with the results.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

SQL Server 2008 Books Online Update (January 2009)

The January 2009 update of SQL Server 2008 Books Online has been released last Friday. The installation file is available for download:

An update of the sample databases is scheduled for spring, and by the looks of things that's still very far away. ;)

Anyway, the samples are available at CodePlex:

Now, go back to work! – he said to himself.