Q: I want to install SQL Server 2000 on Windows Server 2003, but when I do, I receive the error message SQL Server 2000 SP2 and below isn't supported by this version of Windows. To run the program, click Continue. For more information, click Details. I don't have an installed version of SQL Server 2000 that already has Service Pack 3 (SP3) applied, and I can't install SP3 until I apply SQL Server. How can I install SQL Server 2000 on Windows Server 2003 when the OS doesn't support this release?
A: The error message you're seeing has confused many people. Windows Server 2003 doesn't support SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and earlier, but you can install those releases. Immediately apply SP3 (or SP3a) once you've finished the installation. The error message can create a problem if you're trying to perform an unattended installation of SQL Server 2000 because insuppressible GUI messages don't cooperate with unattended installations. However, the Microsoft article "INF: How to Suppress the Appshelp Message in an Unattended Installation" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid =815430) provides a walk-through of registry key changes you can make to disable the error message. Disabling the error message will let an unattended installation proceed without problems. Microsoft has talked about shipping versions of SQL Server 2000 that have SP3a slip-streamed into the core SQL Server installation. However, those versions weren't available when I wrote this answer.
Learn more at "Troubleshooting a SQL Server 2000 Installation Error Message" and "Windows 2000 and SQL Server."