How to install and configure MSDE
Long years after MSDE (Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine) release still I see some professional developers, use Microsoft Access or even My SQL for their data storage in their applications because it is FREE. I came to know most of the people don’t use MSDE because they don’t know such a product exists or they don’t know how to install and configure it. It is not a technical article about MSDE. I am simply explaining how install MSDE as your database server, the client tools for MSDE and finally SQL Server Service Pack 4 for MSDE. This article will cover the default installation and configuration process for MSDE default instance setup. Configuring MSDE as a named instance installation is not much different from SQL Server standard edition or enterprise edition.
If you are looking for a Database server which (1) is supposed to serve
your application on Microsoft Windows platform, (2) is free license (3)
can adapt up to 2 GB of data, (4) can adapt to 10 concurrent Windows users
or up to 25 to 30 concurrent web users, (5) has excellent performance with
(6)full support of basic database programming elements including Views,
Stored procedure and functions (7) with full security support as required
for a production database, most probably MSDE (Microsoft SQL Server
Desktop Engine) is the best choice. I have noticed that not very often the
programmers use MSDE and I found the following reasons that why
programmers do NOT show that much interest.
They don't know that such a
product exists and even more surprisingly they don't know it is included
in their SQL Server 2000 CD and it is also FREE for redistribution.
Installation of MSDE is a
bit more than just a double-click on the Setup.exe
and clicking next buttons after that.
Client tools do NOT exist
They cannot install the
a result I decided to cover all those typical complains
for MSDE installation, configuration, client tools and service packs.
How to get and install MSDE
Getting MSDE is quite simple, actually if you have SQL Server 2000 (
Standard, developer edition or even the evaluation copy) CD, just by
browsing the CD you will find a folder called MSDE that contains all the
installation files for MSDE. If you don't have it, don't worry at all. Smile and click here. It is there for free download but required a bandwidth that can manage
around 110 MB of download (40 MB for the MSDE and 80 MB for the SP 4). The download is a self extracting
compressed file that you need to extract it before you install it.
(I assume that the installation files are in "C:\MSDERelA"
Define the command line
parameters. There are two very important parameters that you have to
define as command line parameters. First is the
and second the
password. You cannot install MSDE release-A without the
instancename parameter even if you are
installing a default instance of SQL Server. If you don't specify the
can have a successful installation but you cannot install the latest
service pack unless you change the blank password for
Here is my command line choice C:\MSDERelA\setup.exe INSTANCENAME="" SAPWD="P@ssw0rd" that makes a
default instance installation of MSDE with the sa
password set to P@ssw0rd.
Verify and start the MSDE
service. Go to Startà
Control Panel à
Administrative Tools à
Services. You will find the
MSSQLSERVER in the services list. Just make sure that the
Startup type is set to automatic and then right-click and start the
Congratulations. You have
successfully installed MSDE.
How to get and install Client Tools for MSDE.
Actually there is no client tool developed by Microsoft specially designed
for MSDE. Once you install MSDE, the only client tool that you have is osql.exe.
If you want to have Enterprise
manager or Query analyzer, you need to borrow it from SQL Server 2000,
Standard Edition, Developer Edition, Enterprise Edition or even Evaluation
NOTE: For client
tools licensing, look
Simply follow the normal installation of mentioned edition of SQL Server
2000 and go for "Install database server". Follow the default
installation process and in the Installation Definition page
select Client Tool Only. Once installation is complete open the
Enterprise Manager and if you don't see the SQL Server registration just
add the registration like any instance of SQL Server and you have the MSDE
connected to the client tools and every thing is accessible through Enterprise
Of course Northwind and Pubs database are not
there. If you need them just go to
this link and
download and restore the sample databases.
How to get and install SP4 for MSDE.
You can download the service pack 4 from this link (
You can simply expand the files and run the setup. Installation is quite
straight forward. Remember if you cannot install SP_4 with blank password
you would like to go for service pack 4 you should know that SP-4 has a
complete installation of MSDE inside, so by installing SP-4 you are
upgrading your installation of MSDE to MSDE+SP4 so the following command
will do the job for you.
"C:\SQL2KSP4\MSDE\setup.exe" UPGRADE=1 DISABLENETWORKPROTOCOLS=1
By the way, if you are installing SP3 you can
just run the setup.exe without any parameters.
If you plan to install MSDE Service Pack 4 from the scratch without
installing MSDE first, simply run the setup.exe for MSDE+SP4 with the
parameters mentioned for normal installation of MSDE. Then install the
Since SP4 installation restarts SQL Server
service, after installation of SP4 on production environment just make sure
that all the services that rely on SQL Server service are restarted.