As of SQL Server 2012 it is easier to slipstream the latest service packs and cumulative updates to create new SQL Server installations. It is a slow process to first install SQL Server and then apply the latest updates afterwards.


The Usual Approach

The usual approach to slipstream SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 has been documented on MSDN blogs where you needed to download update packages for all architectures and extract to a directory and copy over to the original SQL Server Setup files. Make changes to the configuration files to specify the updates and then proceed with the installation of SQL Server. It was basically allot of steps to do.

The Change Approach

Microsoft decided to change the way updates are applied with SQL Server 2012 installations. The new approach is much better. The change is documented on MSDN article about “Deprecated SQL Server Features of SQL Server 2012”.

The steps is as follow. Download the latest cumulative update for example CU2 for SQL Server 2012. Then you need to run the downloaded file to extract to a directory C:\SQLUpdates for example.


The CU2 download filename is “449398_intl_x64_2012_SQL_CU2.exe” and when you run the file it exact an file with the name “SQLServer2012-KB2703275-x64.exe”. You do not have to extract the the file again.


Now open command prompt and navigate to the original SQL Server 2012 setup files. In command prompt type the following command to start the setup:

Setup.exe /Action=Install /UpdateEnabled=TRUE /UpdateSource="C:\SQLUpdates"

The additional parameters are self explanatory, but lets go through them:

  • Action = Specify that we want to perform an install of SQL Server 2012.
  • UpdateEnabled = Specify that the setup should include updates in installation.
  • UpdateSource = Specify location where updates are available


After running the command you will see the default install screens for SQL Server 2012. After the setup checks screens you will see the Product Updates screen that list available updates in the specified directory.


That is basically it. The SQL Server Setup will only use the updates that are available in the specified directory and automatically extract them. You don’t have to download all the available architectures, just the ones that you need.


In summary you can see that the new approach is much easier than before. You can still use the ConfigurationFile.ini and DefaultSetup.ini to specify available updates as well. I hope this change encourage you to always stay up to date with the latest service packs and cumulative updates as they come out.