Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Installing PostgreSQL (hard version)

Note: below description uses PostgreSQL 8.3.7 version installed on 32 bit Windows XP.

In a previous article I presented how to install PostgreSQL using Windows installer. It was quite easy. But ...
There are people that do not play with such ease, what is more, they can not stand when the system is doing something for them in the background, when something is installed - some services, user accounts... They feel insecure, they are suspicious - only the execution of all activities from the command line calms their nerves.

This time, I prepared the description for the people who love technical masturbation and who love to do everything manually and have everything under control. We'll become the PostgreSQL installer and manually execute all the installation steps to get an effect similar to using Windows Installer. So, let's get to work.

  • we are working on Windows XP using account with Administrator rights (or we belong to the Administrators group)
  • database will be installed to C:\Development\PostgreSQL (the same as when using Windows Installer)
  • disable all antivirus/firewall (this one from Windows too)
Step 1: download the version of the installation file (.zip) of PostgreSQL from here. Download the file with the "binaries-no-installer" part in its name.

Step 2: extract the contents of the file from step 1, to C:\Development\PostgreSQL (zip has the pgsql directory and rest of the folders inside it - I recommend to get rid of it and move all subfolders to C:\Development\PostgreSQL - we will have a shorter path). We should get something like this:

Step 3: we need to create an empty directory named "data" in the directory C:\Development\PostgreSQL (along with the rest of the directories from the picture above).

Step 4: create and initialize the database cluster (remember that we are working on the account with Administrator rights). To do this go to the console to the directory C:\Development\PostgreSQL\bin and execute the command:

  • option "-U root" means the owner of the database named root - such user account will be created in database (as a superuser)
  • option "-W" means that You will be prompted for a password for this user
  • option "-D .. \ data" means the location of the files for generated database
  • option "- encoding = UTF8" means that the server will have UTF8 encoding by default (each newly created database too!)
After executing this command, we should see sometling like this:

At the bottom, PostgreSQL offers us to run a newly created database using two different commands. It will not work (You can execute those command to see what error is generated) - remember that we are working on account with Administrator rights, and for safety reasons, we can not start and stop the PostgreSQL server on that account. We should create a system service which will run PostgreSQL server process.

The short version:

Step 5: Perform the following command in the console:

That's all. You're done. The service will be created and registered for the Local System Account. This is a special account which can run services, but it is not a typical account with administrator privileges (more info here).

Do not run the service yet.

Long version:

Step 5: continue to imitate the installer. PostgreSQL installer creates a special account with no administrator privileges - so we will also create such account. Acount login and password will be both set to "postgres". We go to Computer Management, then Users:

Now we add new user with login and password postgres:

For the security reason we do not allow to change the password.

We would like now to make "postgres" account able to run the PostgreSQL server. So we need to create and register a special service for this account, which will carry out these operations. Before we do that we need to assign to this account the appropriate permissions to directories where database server is installed.

Step 6: Change the access permissions for the directory server for the postgres account.

And so:
1. Directory C:\Development should only have read permission.
2. Directory C:\Development\PostgreSQL (and its subdirectories) should have all possible permissions.

Step 7: Registering the service.

Using the console go to the directory C:\Development\PostgreSQL\bin and execute there this command:

  • option -N "PostgreSQL Service" defines the service name
  • option -U postgres says on what account the service is launched
  • option -P postgres gives the password for service account
  • option -D "C:\Development\PostgreSQL\data" tells where database cluster is located (be careful it is very important here to give the full path to the directory "data")

We do not run the service.


Before starting the service must change the basic settings. Move to the directory C:\Development\PostgreSQL\database and open the file postgresql.conf. In this file, You must find and uncomment the following lines:
  • listen_addresses = 'localhost'
  • port = 5432

Now You can start a service in the panel management services.

If everything was done properly, the service should start. If we chose the longer version, in case of trouble with starting the service we should go to the configuration of a service, then select an account for this service and retype password for that service (in our case: postgres)

Theoretically we have the ability to log from the console to the database using the command line (marked red colour):

Thus we should get exactly the same result as using the Windows Installer.

Notes: a short way works ok under Windows XP Prof., should also works ok under Windows Vista - in both systems there is the Local System Account for services. For Windows 2000 You must perform the installation in a long way. For safety, PostgreSQL installer always chooses longer way - it creates an account for the service, then creates sevice itself and registers it to the created account.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this was of great help