SQL Server Express 2005, Finally Installed

September 07, 2005

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.

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.

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45 people found this page useful, what do you think?


Does the sql server driver in cf work with the express?
At least they offer a "manager" with this version :-)
I am not able to install sql server 2005 express edition components,However I could install Database services.it 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.
What about ColdFusion & SQL 2005 usage? I have tried without any success. Any idea?
You saved me pal! Thanks! I was frustrated playing with server configuration and still couldn't connect VBnet with it..... Thanks again!
For me it worked only after uninstalling "SQL Server setup support files".
By the way, you'll also need Windows Installer 3.0 to install that version of the .NET Framework. Windows Installer 3.0 needs Win2K SP3 or later. So what once was a simple MSDE install is now turned into a huge update job. Joy.
Scratch that, you need Windows 3.0 to install .NET 2.0, but you need 3.1 to install SQL Express. Sigh.
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 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=82afbd59-57a4-455e-a2d6-1d4c98d40f6e&displaylang=en Thanks again, Nicholas
Yes, mine only worked after uninstalling "SQL Server setup support files" as well. Cheers Takrim, that was driving me mad!
I agree with you guys but if you try to use SQL Express in a VB enviroment you can edit the database. Try it.
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?
I have been able to configure SQL 2005 Express with CFMX 7 Developer Edition. I created another login in SQL Server Management Studio that has sysadmin access to the database that I want as a source in CF. In the CF Admin data sources, name the CF source, the database name in SQL 2005, the computername\instance_name in the server field, then enter the new username and login you created in Management Studio for the database. You can also connect to it using the new JDBC type 4 drivers, after you add the .jar file into web-inf/lib folder. Again, all this is using the Dev. Edition, so, your mileage may vary. P.S. It also works in cfeclipse with the JDBC drivers and SQLExplorer, but I have not figured out how to list only one database on the server.
Yeah, I didn't think about that. I got it to work by installing DDJDBCAuth.dll and macromedia_drivers.jar and of course getting the port sync'd. Unfortunately, I still can't get dreamweaver to attach. I will try making a user like you say.
THANK YOU! I've just spent 2 hours trying to connect to (local), localhost,, etc...and kept getting the same stupid error message! As soon as I read your post, and used the computer name/instance, it worked great.
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!
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: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerDriver I am using following java code to load the driver class: Class.forName("com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerDriver"); Any help would be appriciated.
Arshad - double check your classpath, that's typically the cause of a ClassNotFound Exception.
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.
I have recently started playing with Visual C# express ( a little of VB express with the conclusion that VB had changed so much from VB6 that I might as well stick with C++/C# languages and let the VB side slide) Anyway I found that the best way to install SQL server express was to install a full express version of a programming language (no MSDN if you like) then install the SQL server express management studio on top of that. It work well this way - I tried install SQL server express separately a couple of times and a right mess was created as outlined in the thread. I think the database not updating problem outlined by ararat is because local databases are copied by default into the project folder and so as not to update the database at runtime. try running the app from outside Visual studio a couple of times and the DB will up date, I think that the probem.
I want to ask that is it possible to Install sql server using V-Basic code ?
how do i make jobs on mssql studio express? i want to make automatic jobs like on enterprise manager
I cannot read the first part of this page with either ff or ie.
Hi there, after renting an SQL server 2005 from host-it.co.uk. I have connected with SQL STudio Mangement and created my 3 main tables, and relationships. I then have conencted to it using MS Web Developer 2005 Express and amd a front end of web pages using c# and asp2.0 . And Login etc. All works perfectly on Loacl Host (Built into Web Developer) but when uploaded to my available web space I type in the url and nothing happens. Any ideas would be great. My Login.apsx page is set to Start Page in Web Developer.
Hi Olly - Chances are that you need to have a default page in your web site - look at creating a page called Default.aspx that simply redirects to the MyLogin.aspx page. Another option is to change your Web.Config to use forms authentication that forces the redirect to MyLogin.aspx. Hope this helps...
Thanks for the (local)\SQLEXPRESS tip....
where can I download the express manager? Apparently, it didnt come with the SQL Server Express 2005 installation.
Hi , I am getting this error when i am trying to connect the database(sql server 2005) from coldfusion mx7Can anyone advise An unexcepted error occurred. The name of the exception is: com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerException: The TCP/IP connection to the host has failed. java.net.UnknownHostException:
i want driver manager connection url for sql server2005
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?
Wow dude ty so much for this tutorial the part about putting sqlexpress after your computer name was my issue. MS should make it clearer. (*rages at MS*)
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?
It seems a lot of you like to blog more that you like to work. I had no trouble installing SQL 2005 Server Express or locating and installing the SQL 2005 Server Studio Manager Express GUI. Creating databases with the manager is a snap and can be done through the dialogs or via the script editor, which by the way is capable of the very most sophisticated SQL scripting. You can download the samples to prove it. Having said all that, the most important feature that is lacking, amd I find that disappointing, is the ability to export the database to different formats. Oh well, you get what you pay for.
Hi, what OS are you running ? Svetoslav http://devcha.blogspot.com/
After installing MS-sql server 2005, when i open configuration manager, there is no listing of services..please help me out
Does your system meet all the requirements: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/editions/express/sysreqs.mspx
hi to all, I've a problem, when I installed Sql Server 2005 Enterprise x64 not ask istance name. Do you now default istance name or how do I create a new istance. I opened Management Studio but in local and network I can't find a server...
Thanks ,I had problem Connecting to SQL Express Manager but machinename\SQLEXPRESS worked
Had no trouble installing and all seems to work in SQL environment, although I can only get it to work by opening up pretty much all protocols and starting the network services, even though I'm only using the local service. However, as soon as ODBC and Access got involved I hit all sorts of problems. Worked to start with then just stopped. Started, stopped, rechecked, restarted, 3 hours dicking about then set back to original settings and rebooted and it all works fine again. No idea why it decided to go crazy or why it sorted itself out. I've an incling my dual core processor might be involved somewhere (says it only supports 1 processor but seems to work most of the time) or possibly McAfee Security Suite 7... although I suspect the former more.
Very disappointed about the limitations this version has compared with the paid version. After all it was not worth the time and efforts to install and configure it properly.
Does anyone know if the Microsoft® SQL Server? 2005 Developer Edition behaves and installs any better? (Currently wrestling with the Express edition. I also have the hardware warning although according to the blab I should be OK)
I installed visual studio 2005 pro.Edt. succesfully, but the the ms.sql server dev.Edit. that came with it as a pack, wouldn't show or install the studio manager. Can anybody help?
Thanks for the info, but I just ahve to ask: Why would anybody use this instead of other free solutions e.g. Oracle XE, which is a piece of cake to install, or an open-source package ike MySQL or Postgres? The latter two offer completely cross-platform support, and anything you put into Oracle XE will be deployable to pretty much any other Oracle DB, so why bang your head against the brick wall of MS SQL Server Express?
In response to "ChrisW" ... Maybe because your customer is using a Sql Server 2005 database.
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?
Hi, I sucessfully installed sql express, but i not able to find option to run sql server management studio. where to locate it??
Hi MBM, Did you download the SQ Express 2005 files or do you have it on CD? The Management Studio is a separate application to the database desktop engine. You can always go and download it from the MS website, here's the link: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c243a5ae-4bd1-4e3d-94b8-5a0f62bf7796&displaylang=en
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.
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.
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.
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
Actually you don't need to go through all that uninstalling .NET and related steps....you can simply install it from command prompt with the upgrade flag set, as described here - http://web-win-programming-code-tutorial.blogspot.com/2009/01/sql-management-studio-installation.html
4. Note When you run the SQL Server Browser service on a computer, the computer displays the instance names and the connection information for each instance of SQL Server that is running on the computer. This risk can be reduced by not enabling the SQL Server Browser service and by connecting to the instance of SQL Server directly through an assigned TCP port. Connecting directly to an instance of SQL Server through a TCP port is beyond the scope of this article. For more information about the SQL Server Browser server and connecting to an instance of SQL Server, see the following topics in SQL Server Books Online:
4. Note When you run the SQL Server Browser service on a computer, the computer displays the instance names and the connection information for each instance of SQL Server that is running on the computer. This risk can be reduced by not enabling the SQL Server Browser service and by connecting to the instance of SQL Server directly through an assigned TCP port. Connecting directly to an instance of SQL Server through a TCP port is beyond the scope of this article. For more information about the SQL Server Browser server and connecting to an instance of SQL Server, see the following topics in SQL Server Books Online:
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!
I have installed , fine , but I dont have the SQL Server Driver on my ODBC so can not restore or attach any database !!!!
thank u yaar i was also havin the same problem...hope this works for me.
do you have any idea, how to solve this error Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (x86): [2] Component Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (x86) returned an unexpected value. www.sibangor.blogspot.com
I had a similar experience. The key for me was COMPUTER_NAME\SQLEXPRESS, just figuring that out took a while since documentation completely lacks that information. Thanks Peter.
please help me to create a database having schema doctor(name,specialization,type,contact) with sql server 2005
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....
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
thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!! buddy it worked u released my frustration of many weeks thanks a lot thanks once again
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 ..
how to connect sqlserver 2005 to a local host?
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
thanks a lot...it really helped me
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.
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.
Thanks a lot...good post.
I have a problem
while connecting SQL Server, even after entering localhost\SQLEXPRESS it is showing an error-
"Login failed for user '-'.The user is not associated with a trusted SQL Server Connection."
Can u plz tell me whats the problem?
Thanks a lot, the part with "Connecting to SQL Express Manager" solved my issue.
my friend did a project in asp.net as front end with c# as code behind in vs 2008 version and sql express edition 2005 as back end.

i tried to run the same project with sql standard edition 2005.

but 3 of the crystal reports does not navigate and gives a save as option in mozilla firefox.
but the same report runs perfectly in sql express edition 2005.

can someone clarify me what's the problem

Hi, I installed sql server 2005 with sp3 on my pc. Still i didnt get the start page where i can create database or table. please help me.

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