Getting SQL Server

If you have installed Visual Studio 2005, you should already have SQL Server 2005, as it is installed by default as part of the Visual Studio installation. To check this, open the Control Panel and select the Programs and Features applet; note that the Installed On date is the same for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition (see Figure 18.1).


Microsoft SQL Server 2005 listed in Programs and Features.


Microsoft SQL Server 2005 listed in Programs and Features.

If you don't have SQL Server 2005 installed, you can download the Express version free, from

Compared to the full version, SQL Server 2005 Express (SSE) has a number of limitations, but it is fine for experimenting with SQL Server as a back end, or developing small applications. SSE includes all the core database features of SQL Server 2005, but it lacks support for enterprise features. If you need to create an enterprise application, you will need one of the other editions of SQL Server 2005, but for individual or small business use, SSE is very suitable.

For a full comparison of the features of the five editions of SQL Server 2005, see the KSeSSB tables here:

SSE is an upgrade to the Microsoft Database Engine (MSDE), which was included in the higherend editions of previous Office versions. Compared to MSDE, SSE has several enhancements:

■ The maximum database size has doubled, from 2GB to 4GB.

■ MSDE's limitation on the number of concurrent users to five (with performance degrading significantly if there were more users) has been removed.

■ The SQL Server Management Studio (included with SSE) gives you a user-friendly interface for working with saved queries and stored procedures, as well as various administrative tasks.

■ The new XCopy deployment feature allows you to copy a database file to another computer, even if the database is not open. Other users can then connect to the database copy using the AttachDBFileName connection string argument.

SQL Server 2005 must be upgraded to Service Pack 2 to work with Access 2007. If you have an earlier version, when you first run SQL Server 2005, or attempt to connect to it, you will get a message advising you of the need to upgrade, with a reference to a web page with the SP2 upgrade links for both SQL Server 2005 and SSE.

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