I had a fault, the details of which I don't remember, on trying to start up SSMS. I thought I would just install it, but that turned into a real four day ordeal, with a different error on each install. Eventually I uninstalled all traces of all SQL servers from my machine (they're all just dev) and started afresh.

Everything went well, except installing SSMS. It says "A valid destination folder for the install could not be determined", and gives me a link to a huge log file, in which I can find nothing comprehensible about a folder not being determined. It ends with paths to two very similar, about as large log files.

Has anybody else experienced the same error, or could give me a clue what to look for in the log files, help will be gratefully accepted.

  • Have you tried to install the new stand-alone version of SSMS? msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/us-en/library/mt238290.aspx
    – vercelli
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 7:29
  • It is that one.
    – ProfK
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 8:50
  • You probably have an existing version of SQL Server installed, that failed before completion, possibly from Express Edition, that is causing this. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 1:13

2 Answers 2


I ran into the exact situation where I uninstall various version of SQL and related tools and freshly reinstall 2016.

This resolve my problem: Setup failed when installing SQL Server Management Studio 2016. I do not understand why it works in my first installation but only after uninstalling and at my second reinstallation the registry points to (x86) instead - if someone can help explain this solution.


You need to make a change the BootstrapDir key in the registry. Please refer to the response below from A valid destination folder for the install could not be determined when installing SQL Server Management Studio 2016.

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