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Migrate to SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
Take advantage of new SQL Server 2005 features, GUI administration, and XCopy or ClickOnce deployment with SQL Express and Express Manager.
by Roger Jennings

May 19, 2005

Technology Toolbox: VB.NET, ASP.NET, SQL Server Express beta 2 (June CTP or later), Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Basic Express (February CTP or later)

Microsoft's no-charge SQL Server Desktop Edition (MSDE) 1.0 and 2000 made it economical for small- to medium-sized businesses to replace file-system (ISAM) databases—typically dBASE, FoxPro, and Jet—with a more robust client/server architecture.


MSDE has been an effective weapon in Microsoft's combat with fewer-featured, "open-source" databases, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and, more recently, CA-Ingres. Microsoft intends to build upon its success in this vein by installing SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (SQLX) with most VS 2005 editions. In this article, I'll describe new SQLX features and how SQLX differs from SQL Server 2005 and MSDE 2000, both of which I've covered in previous VSM articles (see Additional Resources).

SQLX is a lightweight version of SQL Server 2005 that minimizes the installation footprint and thus reduces download time and resource consumption. A silent installation is the default for VS 2005 editions. Alternatively, you can download and install the latest SQLX beta or Community Technical Preview (CTP) version for VS 2005 and its three Express Editions: Visual Basic Express, Visual C# Express, and Visual Web Developer Express. VS 2005 Professional and Team System editions include SQL Server 2005 and Windows Server 2003 Developer editions (see Additional Resources).

Running the independent SQLX installer lets you configure the server during the installation process. Installation options include changing the instance name from the default SQLEXPRESS (not recommended), specifying mixed-mode (Windows and SQL Server) authentication, and selecting the default database collation. SQLX installs side-by-side with SQL Server 2000 and 2005, and MSDE 2000. You'll be able to download a redistributable SQLX version in Windows Installer (MSI) format when SQL Server 2005 releases to manufacturing. You can also expect usage and licensing policies for redistributable and embedded SQLX to be similar to those for MSDE 2000 (see Additional Resources).

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