Pete Freitag Pete Freitag

SQL Server Express 2005, Finally Installed

Updated on November 16, 2023
By Pete Freitag

sql server express enterprise manager

Back in February I blogged about my less than successful attempt at installing Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005. The comments from that post confirmed that I was not alone in these issues.

A helpful Microsoft employee has also posted some comments, with links to specific versions of .NET you need to install. They released a community beta release in June, so I decided to give it another go. After a few hours of tinkering, I did get it installed, and I'm a bit unimpressed with SQL Server Express Manager - more on that below.

This entry is focused on Windows, I have another entry for installing SQL Server on Mac that you might find interesting. The approach used can also work on Windows since it is using docker.

So here's what I did this time to get it working:

  1. Uninstall any .NET frameworks you have installed.
  2. Install .NET Framework version 2.0.50215.312
  3. Reboot - Even though you aren't prompted to reboot, you want to do it now, otherwise the SQL Server Express 2005 installer will fail saying that you have unfinished installations that need a reboot. They are nice enough to get you half way through the installation before telling you this.

  4. Install SQL Server 2005 Express June CTP, build 9.00.1187
  5. Install The Microsoft SQL Server Express Manager June CTP

Though it took me way longer than it should have to install, there were some good points to all this. Microsoft has disabled a lot of features by default, including network connections. You can use the surface area tool to enable these features.

sql serface area tool screen shot

SQL Server 2005 Express also comes with the SQL Server Configuration Manager pretty much all this allows you to configure are network security settings.

sql server configuration manager

Connecting to SQL Express Manager

You would think that connecting to your SQL Server Express Manager wouldn't be too hard, simply enter your hostname, and login. So I put localhost in the Server Instance box. When you try that however you get a connection timeout:

Cannot connect to localhost

Timeout expired. The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding. (Microsoft SQL Server)

Okay, so I probably have some ports locked down, on windows firewall, or in SQL Server express. After disabling pretty much all network security, and the windows xp firewall, I was still getting the error.

Somehow I realized that you need to enter it as follows: computer_name\SQLSERVER_INSTANCE_NAME your SQL Server Express instance name will probably be SQLEXPRESS.

express manager connect

The SQL Server Express Manager

So now that I'm finally in the SQL Server Express Manager, I am expecting it to be somewhat like SQL Server Enterprise Manager. As I found out, it is very limited.

You can't really manage your server with it at all. It provides a read only view of your SQL Express Server, and allows you to run SQL statements.

In other words, you can see the tables you have, but you can't edit them, there isn't even a way to easily generate a SELECT * from tableName; by right clicking. You can also see Views, Stored Procedures, and users, but you can't manage any of these objects unless you execute system stored procedures manually. The only option in the right click menu is Refresh.

Another problem is that the query editor seams to always default to the master database, even if your focus is on an other one.

Needless to say I was a bit disappointed with SQL Express Manager. Unless I'm missing something, it seams to be pretty useless.

Microsoft is clearly leaving it up to third parties to provide a decent manager for SQL Server Express. The one thing that sets SQL Server apart from other databases is the ease of administration, this however does not appear to be a feature in the Express version.

I guess I can't forget that SQL Server Express is free.

The database engine

The actual database engine looks to be interesting, and a big step up from MSDE, but I haven't yet had time play with it. I'll post more on that when I get a chance.


Microsoft is clearly positioning SQL Server 2005 Express to compete with open source databases. But I think they have gone too far. The installation will take you a long time if you don't have the proper dependencies installed, and it is lacking in GUI management tools.

microsoft sqlserver express 2005

SQL Server Express 2005, Finally Installed was first published on September 07, 2005.

If you like reading about microsoft, sqlserver, express, or 2005 then you might also like:

Discuss / Follow me on Twitter ↯


Does the sql server driver in cf work with the express?
by Ryan Guill on 09/07/2005 at 4:13:17 PM UTC
At least they offer a "manager" with this version :-)
by Tjarko on 09/08/2005 at 5:55:09 AM UTC
I am not able to install sql server 2005 express edition components,However I could install Database is giving me this message:-

Minimum Hardware Requirement

The current system does not meet the recommended hardware requirements for this SQL Server release. For detailed hardware and software requirements, see the readme file or SQL Server Books Online.

what am i doing wrong? I didnt had any previous versions of Visual studio.Net and I am installing in windows XP home edition service pack 2. Can any body give me any suggestions.
by var on 11/10/2005 at 2:13:08 PM UTC
What about ColdFusion & SQL 2005 usage?

I have tried without any success.

Any idea?
by Jack London on 11/16/2005 at 6:04:49 PM UTC
For me it worked only after uninstalling "SQL Server setup support files".
by Takrim Khan on 12/23/2005 at 9:59:27 AM UTC
Thanks for posting this info. It saved me time! The connection info bit. Also, I just downloaded & installed MS SQL Server Management Studio Express which pretty much looks like the old Enterprise Manager. You can get it here

Thanks again,
by Nicholas on 01/17/2006 at 3:52:29 AM UTC
I really liked Express2005 at first, when I went through the VWD2005 walkthrough.
Now, I am trying to create a CF data source...NO CAN DO. The instance keeps refusing the connection. I tried opening it up from local to TCP/IP & Named Pipes.
Has anyone got this to work yet?
by Don on 02/02/2006 at 11:35:43 AM UTC
For those who gave up, try one more thing:
Start "SQL Server Configuration Manager",
In "SQL Server 2005 Network Configuration" > "Protocols for SQLEXPRESS", Click on the tab "IP Addresses", Change all TCP Port to 1433.
Yes, I mean all, even "IPAll", then it will work!
by Christopher Cheng on 03/20/2006 at 4:45:52 PM UTC
I downloaded the driver class from Microsoft site. and added the jar file (sqljdbc.jar) to my class path.

I am using WSAD 5.2. It is an IBM IDE tool.

I am trying to connect SQL Server 2005 Express database through my java code.
When I loaded the driver I got the following error message:


I am using following java code to load the driver class:


Any help would be appriciated.
by Arshad on 03/24/2006 at 5:55:06 AM UTC
Arshad - double check your classpath, that's typically the cause of a ClassNotFound Exception.
by Pete Freitag on 03/24/2006 at 6:22:50 AM UTC
To me nothing happenes. I got VB 2005 professional but never database files are updated with applications. Made unistall, total formatting and still the same. Now after uninstalling it carefully i still have sqlserver on services and the setup shows that dotnet is installed also sql server 2005 express.
Even those dos commands did not work on it.
A very complete mess. Just going back to vb 6.0 enterprise which works like a charm.
If Microsoft does not produce any tool for complete unistall of 2005 vb, dotnet, sqlserver no way of playing with it. I'm not going to format PC another time.
by ararat on 04/03/2006 at 7:41:46 AM UTC
I want to ask that is it possible to Install sql server using V-Basic code ?
by Roohullah on 04/24/2006 at 12:53:10 AM UTC
how do i make jobs on mssql studio express? i want to make automatic jobs like on enterprise manager
by kenneth on 04/25/2006 at 1:20:22 PM UTC
where can I download the express manager?
Apparently, it didnt come with the SQL Server Express 2005 installation.
by David on 10/12/2006 at 5:35:09 AM UTC
i want driver manager connection url for sql server2005
by jvvnmurty on 11/16/2006 at 4:34:49 AM UTC
Does anyone know if a client is needed to access SQL Server Express? Does installation require a dedicated server, or can I install in a folder on a file server?
by culkeeny on 11/30/2006 at 7:54:38 AM UTC
Great. Well with SQL Enterprise Admin you could create a new database, right? So how do i go about creating a database with SQL 2005 then? Any hints?
by Andi C on 02/08/2007 at 11:44:14 AM UTC
Does your system meet all the requirements:
by Svetoslav on 04/27/2007 at 1:29:06 AM UTC
If anybody still looks at this, I found a slightly different way to refer to the SQL server with 2005...

When you run the setup, and it asks for your name and company, deselt the option that says 'Hide advanced settings'. The very next page will give you a choice of a personal server instance name (to use as <computer>\<instance>) or you can select 'Default instance' which allows you to specify the server by nothing more than your PC name.

I'm still trying to find a way to access as a . or (local) as with MSDE2000... Anybody have any ideas?
by Andre on 03/06/2008 at 12:26:57 AM UTC
Hi, I sucessfully installed sql express, but i not able to find option to run sql server management studio. where to locate it??
by mbm on 04/08/2008 at 10:31:09 PM UTC
while connecting the Database i got the error , I tried more but could not get solution that error is ( Under default setting SQLServer does not allow remote connectons another one is
could not open a connection to Sqlserver )here what problem was please send me answer thank you.
by ashok gundeti on 10/01/2008 at 9:22:53 AM UTC
Hi Ashok Gundeti,

SQL Server 2005 disallows network access to the database by default, you will need to enable this in the SQL Server Configuration Manager (Start > Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2005 > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Configuration Manager).

Once opened, expand the option for 'SQL Server 2005 Network Configuration' on the left hand side, and select 'Protocols for MSSQLSERVER'. On the right had side, you will now need to enable the protocols you use to specify the server remotely.

Try that and see if you still get the same errors again? I suspect the two errors may be related to each other.
by Andre on 10/02/2008 at 12:08:22 AM UTC
How should i give the server name while connecting the database engine, this very problematic , I vexed with this how will i go,please anybody give me idea , I am trying to connect this last 15 days
by ashok on 10/14/2008 at 9:02:24 AM UTC
You are a lifesaver Pete! Thanks for the many hours and days you have saved me. When I connected to SQL Express, having localhost\SQLEXPRESS as the server name is what worked for me!
by Mike on 03/16/2009 at 1:15:34 AM UTC
thank u yaar i was also havin the same problem...hope this works for me.
by shank on 06/23/2009 at 12:52:17 PM UTC
do you have any idea, how to solve this

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (x86): [2] Component Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (x86) returned an unexpected value.
by sibangor on 09/09/2009 at 7:43:46 PM UTC
please help me to create a database having schema doctor(name,specialization,type,contact) with sql server 2005
by div9335 on 12/04/2009 at 10:37:40 AM UTC
I am nt able to install sql server because i m finding this type of msg."There was an unexpected failure during the setup wizard. You may review the setup logs and or click the help button for more information."pls give me solution....
by Vinod kumar on 01/27/2010 at 2:39:33 AM UTC
I am able to connect to sqlexpress by using .\sqlexpress as suggested.
But my database created by using visual studio environment is not visible in the dropdown list. Pls help
by Ammy on 01/28/2010 at 3:10:37 AM UTC
thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!! buddy it worked u released my frustration of many weeks thanks a lot thanks once again
by ASH on 04/12/2010 at 9:01:14 PM UTC
i installed sql server 2005 . at the end after i installed there was a message box saying the changes will be reflected only afer you reboot the system . after i restared the system i am getting only the sql server configaration manager option ..wat may be wrong that i am not getting the management studio..??? plz help ASAP ..
by Anonymous on 05/18/2010 at 1:08:15 PM UTC
im facing a problem for creating a new sql datbase im getting a problem and error tht sql server does not allow remote connections and tried to change setting
SQL Server Configuration Manager but it is giving a error
by sravani on 08/03/2010 at 12:54:38 PM UTC
thanks a really helped me
by Mahesh Gosemath on 10/03/2010 at 12:11:07 PM UTC
If you are still having issues, I found something that worked for me. I tried for 3 days and finally looked in my error log:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Log

and opened the last file that was written to. Do a search for Server Name and see what it has.
For mine, it was JUST the computer name, with the SQLEXPRESS that got me connected. If your server name does not show the SQLEXPRESS, use exactly what it has listed and try to connect.
by Rene on 10/26/2010 at 7:33:06 PM UTC
hi all.I have installed sql server 2005 in my pc.which has windows xp sp2.but i cant connect it to local machine.Even though I use pcname\selexpress to server name.some one please help me.
thanks in advance.
by ruwan on 12/30/2010 at 4:31:58 AM UTC