I just uninstall SQL Server 2012 (but Microsoft SQL Server 2012 didn't uninstall completely), now I want to install SQL Server 2016 but it causes this error:

vs shell installation has failed with exit code 1638.

I google it but can't find a true answer.

  • Error 1638 means another version of the SQL Version is already installed. So you have to remove/Uninstall complete SQL 2012 before Install SQL 2016. For Uninstall/Remove SQL from your machine use Control panel (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143412(v=sql.110).aspx)
    – CR241
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 19:01
  • I think you can ignore the others comments about version already installed because you can have multiple versions installedat same time. Try restarting the server and install SQL 20126 Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


Exit code 1638 is Another version of this product is already installed. Installation of this version cannot continue. To configure or remove the existing version of this product, use Add/Remove Programs on the Control Panel


OK, the correct answer to this is that another (incompatible) version of the Visual C++ Redistributable is already installed. It has nothing to do with the SQL Server version.

In my case I uninstalled VC++ redistributable 2017 from Add/Remove Programs. I actually had two slightly different versions installed, I uninstalled both then retried the installation of SQL Server. This also broke Management Studio which was already installed, and reinstalling just the VC++ redistributable didn't work (probably now the wrong version), so I ran a Repair from the SSMS installer and that fixed it.

Props to this solution for pointing me in the right direction.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.