I've been asked this a number of times - so I thought I'd post the answer here. If you need to find the version number of a particular instance of SQL Server using only the Windows Registry,
You can use this hive to locate the version for SQL Server: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQLServer\CurrentVersion. If you're using an instance, you'll need to probe the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names hive and then find the corresponding MSSQL.n part.
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