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Beth Massi is a Senior Program Manager on the Visual Studio team at Microsoft and a community champion for .NET developers. Learn more about Beth.
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UPDATE 7/31/2012 - Since this post new versions of SQL Server & Visual Studio have been released. To install the latest version of SQL Server see SQL Server Install. For more information on working with SQL Server Local DB in Visual Studio 2012 see Working with SQL Server LocalDB in Visual Studio 2012 and the MSDN Library SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB.
One of the first things I always do after installing Visual Studio is to install SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Visual Studio 2010 installs SQL Server 2008 Express on your machine but doesn’t include SSMS. Although you can use Visual Studio to create/connect/design databases, I like having SSMS around for advanced management. I recall SSMS for SQL Server 2005 was a simple install, unfortunately they threw the kitchen sink into the SSMS 2008 installer and I’m always confused at which buttons I need to push to get it to do what I want. So I’m writing up this blog post for two reasons 1) So I remember the steps and 2) So you can be less frustrated :-) (BTW, a birdie tells me that the SQL team is looking at making this installer much simpler in the future. Hooray!)
Okay the first thing you need is to make sure you get the right version of SSMS. If you installed Visual Studio 2010 then you will need the 2008 version (not R2).
STEP 1: Download Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 Management Studio Express and select either SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe or SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe depending on your machine’s OS bit-ness. I’m running Windows 7-64bit so I’ll be detailing the steps as it pertains to that OS.
STEP 2: Make sure you’re logged in as an administrator of the machine then right-click on the exe you downloaded and select “Run as Administrator”. If you’re on Windows 7 then you’ll get a compatibility warning. Click past it for now to continue with the install. Later you’ll need to apply SQL 2008 Service Pack 2.
STEP 3: You should now see the “SQL Server Installation Center” window. Yes it looks scary. Select the “Installation” tab.
STEP 4: Select “New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation”. It will then run a rule check. Make sure there are no failures and then click OK.
STEP 5: The next step is misleading. The Setup Support Files window looks like it’s doing something and stuck on “Gathering user settings.” It’s actually waiting for you to click the Install button! Doh!
STEP 6: Another rule check. You’ll probably end up with a Windows Firewall warning this time. If you want to enable remote access to SQL Server you’ll need to configure the firewall later. Since I’m using SQL Server Express for development purposes on this machine only, I won’t need to worry about that. Click Next.
STEP 7: Okay here is the step I always mess up because it’s just not intuitive at all. On the Installation Type window you have a choice between “Perform a new installation of SQL Server 2008” OR “Add features to an existing instance of SQL Server 2008”. You need to select new installation, NOT add features. I know I know, totally weird. You would think that since you just want to add SSMS that it would be Add features to existing instance – I mean I don’t want a new instance, just the dang tools. Sigh. Click Next.
STEP 8: Next you get the Product Key window. You obviously don’t need a product key for SQL Server Express since it’s free so just click Next.
STEP 9: Accept the License Terms and click Next.
STEP 10: Okay now for the window we’ve all been waiting for - Feature Selection. Check off “Management Tools – Basic” and then click Next.
STEP 11: Verify your disk space requirements and click Next.
STEP 12: Help Microsoft improve SQL Server features and services by selecting to send usage and error reports to them (or not). Click Next.
STEP 13: Another quick rule check runs. Click Next.
STEP 14: Now it looks like we’re ready to install. Click the Install button.
The install will kick off and will take about 5 minutes to complete.
STEP 15: Once the installation completes, click the Next button again.
STEP 16: Complete! Click the Close button and you should be all set.
STEP 17: Fire up SQL Server Management Studio! You should now see it in your Programs under Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Make sure you run it as an administrator for access to all the features.
And don’t forget at some point to install the latest SQL Server 2008 Service Pack. I hope this helps people who have just installed Visual Studio 2010 but also want to install SQL Server Management Studio. I know I’ll be referring to my own post on this when I need to do it again :-)
Thanks for sharing this post, Its very helpful to me... Thanks a lot
Thank you ! The install could be a little bit more clearer.
Very helpful... Thank you very much... it helps a lot
I hope you and everybody realize how such a shame it is to have a complex 17 steps installation for something that should take 2 or 3 intuitive clicks. MS is doing it all wrong these last years, after many years of doing almost all good :(
these is very helpfull . thank you :)
hi buddy..... i have installed sql 2008 according yr instructions but now i m unable to connect datat base engine. cox i dn't have and dnt know server name.
plz help me out
Thanks very much for the guide. Very helpful!
You were very right... Thanks for this.
Thanks. I needed this: step 7 was what kept me going wrong and made me search. Much appreciated!
just now tried to install sql server 2008 on my laptop. it first shows me error that compatability issue and after pressing "run program" its give me error in installation process "restart computer fails". I tried lot to solve to this problem but didn't succeded.
Thanks, you saved me a lot of time :-)
Thank you Beth!! Your instructions are perfect! Works Great!
I have a windows 8 OS and have installed sql server express r2 .. but stil am not able to install swl server management studio . it says compatability issues prevail .. any help on where can I get a proper file for sql server management studio for windows 8 ...