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Annoying “Windows must be restarted” error loop

Windows Restart is Required loop error

Ready to give up and throw it out the window?

This whole thing started off while trying to remove and reinstall a version of SQL Server 2008. Kept getting this error over and over again. SQL Server just wouldn’t install – and kept telling me that a restart was required before trying to uninstall the original version. Just could NOT get this to straighten out regardless of the half dozen restarts!

I looked in the typical HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun* areas to see if there was something funky going on – nothing. Checked the Startup folder – nothing. Checked the System Configuration tool – nothing looked odd there.

This solution is actually helpful for a number of other issues as well. “Restart is required” keeps popping up for no reason that you can decipher. Well, in my case it was the above situation, I finally got down and dirty with the problem. The restart flag (one of them – and the offending one in my case) was found at the HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession¬†ManagerPendingFileRenameOperations location in the registry. There were 2 entries there for non-existent files. It is a RE_MULTI_SZ type entry. If you see anything living in the registry value – pop it open and delete the values contained therein. If you HAVE done some updates recently, DO a restart. If you have restarted, as I did – half a dozen times, with no success in getting the flags to reset, then this IS your solution. There are others, but this one worked for me!

Be aware those of you that want to install the SQL Server 2008 Express version on your computer. IF you choose to do so and actually USE the SQL Server, the standard install does NOT install the actual database manager interface for creating databases and then getting into them – i.e. No way to actually look at the data or modify it through the SQL Server directly. The application portion that you really want is the “SQL Server Management Studio”. If you already HAVE the Standard SQL Server 2008 Express installed, there IS no way to just add the SQL Server Management Studio. The only way to get the Management Studio? UNINSTALL the base SQL Server version and REINSTALL the SQL Server 2008 ADVANCED version.