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Could not open Key: Error installing SQL 2005 express on Windows 7

Installing SQL 2005 express on Windows 7, can lead to some frustration. Due to increased security on Windows 7, during an installation you may get a warning message stating ‘Could not open key:’ SQL install error - could not open key

Looking at the message you can clearly see that this installation is failing due to a lack of permissions necessary to complete the installation. To be more specific, there is a lack of permission to a specific registry key. This installation modifies a registry key but with the logged on user account not having the necessary permissions, the installation will fail. The registry can be identified in the warning (your key may differ). In order to get around this frustrating event, you will need to grant yourself Full Control permission to the registry key it is trying to access.  Open the registry from the Run line and type the command [Regedit.exe ]. Once the registry is open, run a search for the first couple of characters in the key name. This should help expedite the search. A registry can be a very large file depending on how many applications you have installed.

registry search for key

registry search for key

After the search is complete and you find the key, right click on the key and select Permissions. You can now increase your permissions on this key by granting your account Full Control. Click OK to save the changes and exit the registry. Reboot the computer and try the installation again. You should now be able to complete the installation without failing.

So don’t give up trying to instal SQL 2005. Take a step back, follow the instructions above and you will be finished installing SQL 2005 before you know it.

Defender USA