How-to: Install Windows SharePoint Services without installing MSDE

This weekend I struggled a little but with an installation of Windows SharePoint Services. I had a test server installed with ASP.NET and a SQL Server running on it; the goal was to install SharePoint that should be using the SQL Server instance instead of installing Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE). By default, the Setup installs an new instance of MSDE to use as database, even if there's a SQL Server available on the same machine. The trick is to use the remotesql command-line option with the setupsts.exe application. The only nasty thing is that first you have to run the STSV2.exe package, so the installation files are decompressed, and then abort the STSV2.exe package:

  • Download STSV2.exe to your computer.
  • Run STSV2.exe to extract the installation files.
  • When the Windows SharePoint Services installation starts, click Cancel.
  • Click Start, and then click Run.
  • In the Open box, type c:\folder\setupsts.exe remotesql=yes (where c:\folder is the path to the Setupsts.exe file on your local computer).For example, if you installed the US English version of STSV2.exe, then the folder is c:\program files\STS2Setup_1033.
  • Click OK.
  • The Windows SharePoint Services Setup program opens.
  • On the End-User License Agreement page, review the terms, and then select the I accept the terms in the License Agreement check box, and then click Next.
  • On the Type of Installation page, click Server Farm, and then click Next.
  • On the Summary page, verify that only Windows SharePoint Services will be installed, and then click Install.
  • Setup runs and installs Windows SharePoint Services.

For more information: Remote SQL Server Deployment and Command-Line Options for Setupsts.exe.

Update: Patrick has added a nice tip (see comments): “Maybe a good remark is also to first create an additional virtual server in IIS so that you can host your WSS sites on that one. Otherwise the default Web site will be used and you will not be able anymore to host 'normal' Web sites (due to the ISAPI filter installed by WSS).”


  • good posting - I am in the midst of WSS deployment and installing default MSDE and not using it is wasteful.

    Is there a tech note or KB article on deploying it on an external virtual server (in IIS) and *avoiding* the ISAPI filter problem for default (& other) web sites (as mentioned by Patrick)?


  • Thx for the tip Patrick!

  • Nice info on WSS, but also the point on IIS 6.0 by Patrick is important.


  • I wish I had though of Patrick's tip when I installed here. Good job I've got a second server for "normal" sites.

  • Hey folks - this brings up a related question - is there a way to convert an existing MSDE-based WSS site to SQL? The application of this would be great for Small Business Server which uses several instances of MSDE running and is very wasteful on memory.

    Since SBS has SQL as an option, that the next logical step.

  • You can upgrade any MSDE databases to SQL Server with the upgrade wizard.

  • Dear Sir,

    I am getting Error : Login failed for user 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'. (Error code: 18456).

    How to ovecome this sitution

    pls help me

    mail me :

  • Dear Sir,

    I am getting Error : Login failed for user 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'. (Error code: 18456).

    How to ovecome this sitution

    pls help me

    mail me :

  • Jan, you're a life saver! I've been wrestling with STS for the past 2 days and with your article I was able to get it up and going. Geez!



  • To reslove this problem :

    Insall sql2000 service pack 3, and give create database permission to 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'

    Hope this Help


    Gopal Prabhakaran

  • Hallo,

    i am also in the same situation, can u please describe me the steps to give create database permissions to 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'

    Thanks in anticipation

  • Regarding the SQL Permissions?

    Have you managed to resolve this? if not I can expain how to if you would like?

    Sharepoint Padawan

  • Thanks Guys, could somebody please explain how to give create database permissions to 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'


  • Ok,

    Creating the 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE' SQL permissions for your Sharepoint Server.....

    OK I am going to start from Scratch its easier.

    Note: Your SQL Server should be using Windows Authentication.

    Open up your SQL Enterprise Manager, goto Security then Logins.

    Here you should see all the users and groups that have access, By default you should have the SA account and a few BUILTIN accounts.

    Now either right click and select "New Login", here create the user, in this case 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE' make sure you enable "Grant Access".

    Now under "Server Roles" what I did to make sure that I wasn't going to have any problems with this User during the Install I made ithe user a "System Administrator", OK some of you will cringe and say Noooooo... but hey its me writing this and I am doing it may way... (I dont mean to offend).

    Then under "Database Access" make sure that you select "Master" and tick "DB_Owner" again I can hear another groan across the vast expanse that is the Net...(Sorry..)

    Note: Once you have installed Sharepoint you can always change the premissions of the 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE' to a less aggressive role.

    Ok once you have done all of the above, you can kick off your Sharepoint Install, don't forget to use the "remotesql=yes" switch if your installing Sharepoint on a Frontend Webserver or on the same DB server as SQL.

    If anyone thinks I have missed out something please let me know.


    Sharepoint Padawan

  • Hi, I have installed this as a server farm, as I have already one MSDE instance (Trend Micro IWSS). I now have a central administration page on localhost:10900, but I have no idea how to manually set up a sharepoint.

    I could also install sharepoint first and IWSS afterwards, but then i get prompted for the password for the SA account, and I can't find it anywhere.

    Any pointers to both solutions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Thomas

  • I installed Shareponint service in windows 2003 machine as part of BizTalk Server 2006 installation.
    I followed the instructions given in BT06 installation guide.
    After that sites are there in my virtual server is not working.when i am browsing ,getting "The page cannot be displayed".
    What should i do for this?

  • I am getting Error : Login failed for user 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'. (Error code: 18456).
    I am installing WSS 2.0 with MSDE2000 and do not have a method of modifying permissions. MSDE2000 doesn't have an SQL Manager. You create an instance and use it, no modifying. Please help...

  • Lucy! Please call me,Lucy! Please call me

  • I had sharepoint installed in a machine with MSDE. I wanted it to use MS SQL 2000. So uninstalled sharepoint and reinstalled the same. But on installtion it opens IE and directs to url localhost and get "page cannot be displayed" here. Now I cannot access the Sharepoint Central Admin also. There were no dialog boxes or options appearing in installtion.
    I am using Win 2003 std edition and stsv2.exe.

    What am i doing wrong?

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  • I followed the same procedure, but the step "Type of Installation" is not coming. It is directly going to install option and installing with MSDE support. That could be wrong.

  • I have installed windows sharepoint service pack 1 on windows 2003 server.
    not when i m trying to open it , it is asking for
    Localhost User nAME & pASSWORD.



  • I am getting the:

    Login failed for user 'NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE'

    The error on the Event log stated after I migrated the db from MSDE to SQL2005 Workgroup . The Sharepoint is originally installed by the Small Business Server Setup.

    Also getting this error:

    #50070: Unable to connect to the database STS_Config on EARTH\SharePoint. Check the database connection information and make sure that the database server is running.

    I believe this other error have to be relate to the first.

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