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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 :-)
No helpful to me as all I want to do is install the Management Studio on my desktop as the database is on the server. I want to be able to administer from my desktop. I have MS SQL Enterprise Manger still on my desktop as my previous server had SQL Server 2000 and this was an upgrade. It sees the Express installed on the server and will even attach to it but won't let me manage it. Any suggestions on this?
I was also scratching my head at step 7...I was confused because add new features was the LOGICAL way to go but instead it was just another Microsoft moment(LOL).
Thank you for this.
Amazing post, I just have one question, will I be able to get access to the Adventure Works Database after the installation is Completed?
Hi Bhaskar Manna,
Once you install SQL Express you can install AdventureWorks here:
nice one...completely unintuitive by MS. Spent most of the day looking for that step. Thanks again
now when i use the New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation there is something that says browse for sql server2008 installation media what should i choose and good job
Thanks for sharing. following the steps documented here, I successfully installed.
Thanks for the helpful article...I thought I was on drugs when I couldn't install the mgmt studio...was not intuitive at all for me. Glad I found your article. Thanks for taking the time to write it.
Perefect! That works. Thanks a lot!
You just relieved me of an hour of banging my head against the wall!! The whole "New Instance" thing was throwing me! And I couldn't agree more! Thanks again!
plz give me a link to download sql server2005 or 2008.
Thanks for the helpful article , thanks Beth
This article was a 'god send'. I just COULD NOT figure out how to install the client tools. As you said, it is not intuitive. At all. Do these teams use testers anymore?
Thank you so much, which i had found this 2 hours ago ;(
it saved (the rest of) my day.
You are a star