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*Most of the concepts and configuration lessons in this category of blog posts “SQL Server Installation - Config” also apply to SQL Server 2005 Express and Full editions (as well as SQL Server 2008 Full edition).  Also, if you have installed any version of SQL Server 2008 or 2005 on your machine already, you may be reading these lessons to look for hints regarding how to set up SQL Server for smooth integration with ASP.NET and C# database programming; if that is your situation, you will probably find value in going through the lessons to learn the configuration parameters and setup that I tweaked to make SQL Server work smoothly with ASP.NET and ADO.NET.

The version of SQL Server 2008 Express that I prefer is the one that comes with the SQL Server Management Studio.  The Management Studio software is a nice graphical user interface that allows you to create databases, tables, import data, perform backups, etc.  The SQL Server version that contains the Management Studio is officially called “Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools”.  .  If you don’t install the version with Tools, you may have problems tweaking the database to configure it properly and even create tables with data.  Also, I do not recommend installing SQL Server during your Visual Web Developer installation; install it separately.

SQL Server 2008 has some kind of compatibility issue with versions of Visual Studio prior to Visual Studio 2008 SP1.  This includes older versions of the Express Editions of Visual Web Developer and Visual C#.  If you have the older versions of those products installed, you probably have to remove them and upgrade to the 2008 SP1 version in order to complete the SQL Server 2008 installation.  I have experienced this incompatibility first hand because it happened to me.  I had Visual Web Developer 2008 Express installed on my computer and my SQL Server 2008 Express installation displayed an error during the process telling me that I had an older version of Visual Studio installed.  It was easy to fix; all I had to do was download and install Visual Web Developer 2008 Express with SP1 and that allowed me to complete my SQL Server installation.  In these types of situations, you may be able to install the software that SQL Server needs and continue with installation of SQL Server without having to start it from scratch again.  In other situations, a reboot may be required to install prerequisite software so you will end up having to start the SQL Server installation again.

Before you get started installing SQL Server 2008 Express, be mindful that there may be roadblocks along the way.  It is a long installation with many steps, including some not so intuitive configuration parameters that need to be setup correctly during the process.  If you install all the prerequisite software and follow the steps here closely, you will be successful.  For those of you that already installed SQL Server in the past and are having problems integrating with .NET, you may consider uninstalling SQL Server and installing it fresh using the advice in these lessons.  NOTE: if you installed SQL Server in the past and created any database tables with data, before you uninstall, make sure to backup your databases somewhere first so that you can restore them into the new database once you complete a fresh installation.

Here is the list of software that you must have installed before attempting to install SQL Server:

  • Visual Studio 2008 with SP1 or the Visual Studio Express Editions with SP1 (Visual Web Developer and Visual C#) - older versions of these products should be removed as stated previously in this lesson.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Sp1
  • Windows Installer 4.5
  • Windows PowerShell 1.0

If you visit the link above to download SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools, you should see download hyperlinks to the prerequisite products in the “Instructions” section.  I recommend that you take notes during this entire process of installing and configuring SQL Server 2008 because chances are that you may have to do it again sometime soon and you may also want to share tips with friends or fellow Internet users looking for advice.


  1. Hello, I was wonderng does SQL Server 2005 have Managment studio too?

    Comment by Dio — January 29, 2009 @ 12:29 am

  2. Yes. Search google for “Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express” and click on the first link.

    Comment by ted — January 29, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

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