Uninstalling SQL Server 2008 fails with “Value cannot be null. Parameter name: sddlForm”

I came across this annoying error while trying to remove SQL Server 2008 from our Windows XP desktop Sysprep image.  I found a Microsoft Connect article which gave some brief but ultimately unhelpful advice relating to an error reading the Group SID when uninstalling FileStream.

That said, it did get me on to FileStream.  Looking through the Detail.txt file in the relevant dated subfolder of the C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log folder, I could see that the error was due to the uninstaller trying to remove permissions on the FileStream share that was created when I installed SQL Server 2008, originally.  From Administrative Tools >> Computer Management >> Shared Folders >> Shares, I tried to add the correct group permissions to the {INSTANCENAME} FileStream share, but it didn’t seem to make any difference to the uninstaller.

In the end, I got around it by editing the registry.  Opening regedit.exe from the Start >> Run window, I browsed to my instance’s registry branch, at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.{INSTANCENAME}\MSSQLServer and renamed the FileStream key to something arbitrary (I used “__FileStream“, but I expect you could use anything the installer wasn’t expecting).

Now when I ran the uninstaller, it couldn’t find the necessary registry branch, so assumed FileStream was uninstalled, skipped right over the step and completed successfully.  Then, I right-clicked the {INSTANCENAME} share in Computer Manager and clicked “Stop Sharing”.

I will post if I experience any issues with the desktop image, having performed this workaround.  In the meantime, hope this helps someone out there.

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5 Responses to “Uninstalling SQL Server 2008 fails with “Value cannot be null. Parameter name: sddlForm””

  1. James Lean Says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for this. Had two instances of SQL 2008R2 Evaluation edition that had expired and I was getting this error trying to uninstall either of them. Went through a few articles that didn’t provide much help until I found yours – worked perfectly!

    Don’t know if you did the same, but before running the uninstall I had manually deleted the SQL security groups as instructed in this kb article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955499. I am guessing this had something to do with causing the error – not sure why Microsoft suggest you do this??

    Thanks again,
    James

  2. JackD Says:

    AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!! Thank you for posting this!! Now I just have to find all registry instances and files and remove them. Any suggestions?

  3. glutenfreesql Says:

    Thanks man, this was a life saver . Or at least it made my week. Ironically, I did find this with Google, since you wrote it.

  4. Wilma Says:

    Thank you so much, have been able to uninstall and reinstall SQL Server 2008 r2 and install SQL Server Management Studio.

  5. Aniruddha Das Says:

    Thanks! This is awesome!

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