We are performing the downgrade activity from SQL server 2008 R2 Enterprise to Standard.

After the uninstall and re-install the standard version, (once the saved system databases were copied to the new installation location), we are unable to start the SQL service which was running under local system account:

Error from event viewer:

Error 2(The system cannot find the file specified.) occurred while opening file 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA\master.mdf' to obtain configuration information at startup. An invalid startup option might have caused the error. Verify your startup options, and correct or remove them if necessary.

Earlier before downgrade these system databases were on D:\, but i believe that may not be the cause because we have not witnesses this earlier during the previous times when we downgraded.

Please suggest what possibly could have gone wrong here:


  • 1
    Make sure SQL server service account has access to 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA\master.mdf' and there are no invalid startup parameters ..
    – Kin Shah
    May 31, 2015 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


Go to SQL Server Configuration Manager, highlight SQL Server Services in the left side, then right-click this instance on the right side and choose Properties. On the Startup Parameters tab, make sure the locations for -d, -e, and -l are updated and correct. Right now it sounds like they are set to the defaults, which won't work if you've moved the system databases to D:

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Also it's not clear if you followed the proper process to move the system databases in the first place. Please go through these articles and verify that you done this correctly:

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