SQL Server 2012 Installation Error-Wait on the Database Engine Recovery Handle Failed

Yesterday, I tried to install SQL Server Express 2012 on my windows 8 PC and in the middle of the installation process I get an error like this:
                         Configuration error description: Wait on the Database Engine recovery handle failed.

I continued with the installation and at the end of the installation process, it showed me error that some of the SQL Services installed successfully while some other were not successfully installed.Here are the screenshots of the error and the failed installation :

SQL Server 2012 Installation Error-Wait on the Database Engine Recovery Handle FailedWait on the Database Engine Recovery Handle Failed
I copied the error and searched it over the Internet.After six hours of struggle and googling, I was able to overcome this error and ended with successful installation of SQL Server 2012 on my windows 8 computer.The solution of this problem is quite easy. I found many different suggestions for solving it but none of them was complete or demonstrated properly.So I decided to write a post for solving this error.Here is the easiest way to solve this error:
  • First you need to Uninstall all the previous Installations of SQL Server.If you tried to install SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2005,uninstall them as well.You not only need to uninstall them,also you need to delete all the registry values related to SQL server.For this I suggest you to Uninstall all the instances of SQL Server using Revo Uninstaller.  Click Here to go to download page .
  • Revo Uninstaller enable you to scan for registry files and remaining files after the default uninstallation. Delete all the registry values and remaining files.
  • Also Navigate to C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server and delete all the files present in the folder.Restart your PC.
  • Now Double click on the SQL Server setup to begin the installation and proceed with the default settings.When you come to Server Configuration Screen, Change the Account Name of Database Engine Service to NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE and continue installation and it will successfully install all components without any error.
SQL Server 2012 Installation Error-Wait on the Database Engine Recovery Handle Failed solved
  • If, after changing the Account Name to  NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE, you are getting validation error it means that your previous installation files of SQL Server are not completely removed.Try to change the Instance name of the SQL Server.Also delete all the registry files of previous installations.
SQL Server 2012 Installation Error-Wait on the Database Engine Recovery Handle Failed
This simple solution worked for me straightway.Let me know whether your problem is solved or not by commenting below.

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  1. thank you very much , i had the same error with sql server 2008 R2 and i did what you said and it works properly , thank you very much

  2. While installing sql server,when server configuration window comes, look for the Account Name of Database Engine Service and change it to NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE and continue installation…

  3. Thanks! It works for installation. However, I cannot connect to the server from same computer. the error message is as following:
    TITLE: Connect to Server

    Cannot connect to localhostMSSQLSERVER.


    A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 25 – Connection string is not valid) (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 87)

    For help, click: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?ProdName=Microsoft%20SQL%20Server&EvtSrc=MSSQLServer&EvtID=87&LinkId=20476


    The parameter is incorrect


    The server is running. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

  4. tried many sites, microsoft guides, youtube nothing worked. Then I came to this site and followed the simple steps, now no errors and everything works! thank you man, keep it up! 😀

  5. THANKS ! – thought I would add comment for those installing on a Domain Controller ( specifically 2012R2). When I selected the NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE, I got an error saying you can't do this on a DC, so I created an account with administrator rights and selected that and it worked. ALSO, if you find that the option to change the account is greyed-out, you need to backup and select the type of install that doesn't do the default options, hence giving you the ability to make this change. It's one or two steps before the serverconfig page. good luck T h a n k Y o u AMAR

  6. Very helpfull. Thanks. I actually did not change registry values, only removed all SQL Server 2012 related progams and used the NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE setting. Worked as a charm.

  7. Had exact issue on Server 2012 R2 Standard with Sql Express 2012. Brand new hardware with fresh Windows 2012 install. Only thing done on the server prior to the Sql install was windows updates. It blows my ever living mind, how this got past Microsoft and released with this issue. I don't know how every living soul that tries installing this doesn't end up with same error (maybe they do…idk). I banged my head for 3hours before finding this post! ANYWAYS..Amar – YOU THE MAN!!! Truly Respect.

  8. Even I got the same error then I've uninstalled everything and reboot the server. Tried to install it again but unfortunately I am still getting the same error even though I specified the database engine service account as NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE…what could be the reason??

  9. It is working for me :

    When you come to Server Configuration Screen, Change the Account Name of Database Engine Service to NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE and continue installation and it will successfully install all components without any error.

  10. hi. when i install sql server 2012 enterprise on my dc server at the end of installation i got this error… i try two times whith two user first system and second administrator…
    but the error still happen to me…
    please help me. please. how can i solve this problem?

  11. Thank you so much. I literally don’t even remember by now how many times I uninstalled and reinstalled, finally came across this link. It worked smoothly for SQL Server 2016. Thanks..!!!

  12. IT worked in SQL 2012 Express SP2. After searching every where, you are the man! Cannot thank you enough as I saw this 2 days in a row on different machines.

  13. Had the same problem and this worked when installing SQL Server 2014 Express on a Windows 2012R2 Essentials Server. The only issue was finding the NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE. I had to use Network Services as my search, then select the NT AUTHORITYNETWORK SERVICE user. This link helped me identify how to solve finding the user: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/39b8da31-fc09-4663-b8ef-76acd192bd78/where-is-nt-authoritynetwork-service?forum=winserverDS

    Also, I did not use the Revo Uninstaller. This link (http://www.networksteve.com/forum/topic.php/tool_to_completely_remove_sql_server_2014/?TopicId=99348&Posts=3) gave good instructions on the specifics of the registry items to remove. I unstalled SQL Svr first, made a backup of the registry, deleted the registry items listed in the link, then reinstalled SQL Server 2014 Express.

  14. exxcelent , tks you vey much , it take me 5 hours to uninstall, install again , download 2008 , 2012, 2014 , too bad until I google and got your link
    TKs you so much and have nice day

    • I hade the same problem with Sql Server 2014. I’have tried your guide, but unfortunately it didn’t work. I’m desperate. More over the microsoft help pages indicated in the log files don’t exist ! Thanks microsoft.

  15. I had this problem installing SQL Server 2016 that I need for college. I’ve been told to uninstall, reinstall, delete registry keys. This is the only thing that worked.
    Thanks so much.

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