Yep, I caught on as I was playing with permissions in sql - if there was no user then I'd get a log entry complaining about things, and if I created a valid login, suddenly there would be nothing in the log and blank pages etc.
I wrote a step-by-step guide for my boss to follow, which I will paste in here in case it helps anyone else out.
Firstly, I found version 1.8.1 here:
And from that I used the install.sql script, nothing else
Email to my boss:
How to set up Orchard 1.9.2 with IIS and SQLEXPRESS2014
Create an empty database in SQL (Btw, TCP/IP protocol needs to be enabled, and mixed-mode authentication)
open the install.sql script file in SQL and edit the following settings as needed:
SET @dbName = 'Orchard.1.9.2';
SET @dbUser = 'dbuser';
SET @dbPwd = 'dbpassword';
Execute the install script.
Extract the contents of Orchard.Web.1.9.2 to a temporary folder (IIS doesn't like zip extraction under the wwwroot)
Create a new folder in C:\inetpub\wwwroot (example is Orchard)
Copy the contents of the Orchard subfolder to C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Orchard
run IIS (run inetmgr)
Expand the default web site
Right-click on the Orchard folder and select Convert to Application
Right-click on the new application, select Manage Application, then Advanced Settings...
Check the Application Pool - For me I chose DefaultAppPool, .Net CLR Version: 4.0, Pipeline Mode: Integrated
Expand the Orchard app so you can see the subfolders
Right-click on App_Data, then Edit Permissions...
Security Tab --> Edit... --> Add... Then enter:
Grant at least Modify permission (I chose Full control, but modify works as well I have since found)
Repeat the process for:
To start the website:
In IIS, select the new application and over in the Manage Application section under Actions on the right-hand side of the screen, Browse *.80 (http)
The Getting started page will eventually load.
Set the website name, admin password, and choose: Use an existing SQL Server, SQL Express Database
This is the connection string I used:
Data Source=VAIO\SQLEXPRESS2014;Initial Catalog=Orchard.1.9.2;Persist Security Info=True;User ID=dbuser;Password=dbpassword
The screen will dim, and the message: Cooking Orchard Recipe will appear as it populates the database tables.
When it has completed, the homepage will be displayed.
(I really hope this helps save someone else 3 days of banging their head on the table in frustration)