Error while installing SQL Server 2005 – Native Client cannot be found

Recently while installing SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition on a “fresh” server I found that crazy thing just wouldn’t install!

I was getting the following error:

“An installation package for the product Microsoft SQL Server Native Client cannot be found. Try the installation again using a valid copy of the installation package ‘sqlncli.msi'”

Most cryptic… Considering my installation package is the disc given to me by Microsoft and I’m positive that the sqlncli.msi file is right there.

However, the actual issue appears to be as simple as an inability to upgrade an old Native Client edition.ย (Thanks to Jose for pointing it out). To resolve, use the Add / Remove Programs panel to uninstall an existing SQL Server Native Client installation and you should be good to roll.

Note that this appears to be common for other editions of SQL Server 2005 too.

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59 thoughts on “Error while installing SQL Server 2005 – Native Client cannot be found

  1. After 3 different install disks, and tearing my remaining hair, this seems to have done the trick. What a *terrible* error message. Thanks!

    (speaking of bad usability – your comment form doesn’t tell you which are the required fields until you try to submit)

  2. Whoo Hoo, I can now take the handgun out of my mouth (I was so frustrated) I finally got SQL loaded. Thanks for the info. Your a lifesaver.

  3. OMG!!! YES!! Doing this just for the SQL Tools on a workstation and it keep saying I had a higher version of the client and it would not install. This is a new laptop that never had any tools installed. Removed the client and installed from the disk and it is there. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for sharing this, really did prove vaulable as i had spent an hour investgating to no avail.

    Your solution did the trick

    many thanks

  5. Worked…you’d think after 2 years their error message would be more clear…something along the lines of “Your current installation of the native client cant be upgraded because we’re too lazy to fix it so uninstall and try again. Thank you.”

  6. i have that problem but the only native client installed on my system is the 2005 which is what I need. But I still get the same error message

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