Last night at a SQL Server User Group meeting, one of the attendees was describing the trouble he was having uninstalling a failed SQL Server installation. There was some kind of problem that caused it to fail on the database engine installation. That sounded exactly like a problem I had installing SQL Server 2008R2 as a named instance alongside SQL Server 2005 just a few weeks before.
My installation was failing because I was attempting to install SQL Server 2008 (not R2) from an actual Microsoft DVD (most of the time I am installing from an MSDN iso download). After much of the installation was complete, a dialog popped up prompted for media containing a path to a SQL Server 2008 R2 executable. I wasn’t trying to install R2, so I’m not sure why the prompt. I ignored the prompt and continued the installation which failed (no surprise there). After the error, I decided I would just uninstall the non-R2 instance and install SQL Server 2008 R2, but the uninstall wizard would not work.
For posterity sake, the blog post that I used to uninstall the failed installation was Fun with software : uninstalling SQL Server 2008 R2 Evaluation Edition by Aaron Bertrand. The article is about uninstalling an eval edition, but it worked for me on an RTM or SP1 copy.