What can go wrong, will

from the Artful SQL Server & Access Tips List


I have installed Visual Studio .NET (VS.NET) and SQL Server 2005 at least a dozen times on various boxes in my development studio. Recently, a hard disk on one of my boxes went to a better place, so I replaced it and started over from Windows XP on up, through Partition Magic, NoteTab, and other essential utilities, and then I moved on to the applications: Office 2003, VS.NET, SQL Server 2005, and then MSDN. I checked the Start | Programs menu, and to my horror, Management Studio, Analysis Services, and Business Intelligence Studio were not there!

Meanwhile, I was scheduled to teach a course on SQL Server at a training institute. This course had been taught using MySQL, but wanting to be a SQL Server 2005 evangelist, I suggested that their techie download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (which is freely available, so there were no copyright violations). When I arrived on the first day, I found that the techie had done his job admirably—everything was installed perfectly. There was only one problem, and it was a big one: I experienced the same exact problem on the training boxes as I did at home.

I placed a couple of calls to esteemed friends and colleagues, and my good friend Stephen Giles' suspicions turned out to be right on the money. The problem stemmed from the presence of SQL Server 2005 Express.

At home, I had installed VS.NET first and then SQL Server 2005. There's a subtle little check box in the VS.NET installation indicating that you want SQL Server Express to be installed. At the training institute, the techie had, according to my instructions, installed SQL Server 2005 Express.

After that, if you try to install SQL Server 2005, the installation program detects that SQL Server 2005 Express is already installed and sidesteps the installation of all the wonderful GUI tools (since they are not included in SQL Server 2005 Express).

In my opinion, the SQL Server 2005 installation process is not sufficient; it should have at least defaulted the SQL Server 2005 Express check box to False rather than True. Upon detection of an instance of SQL Server 2005 Express, I believe the installer should have given me three options:

1. Remove SQL Server 2005 Express and install SQL Server 2005.
2. Install SQL Server 2005 side-by-side.
3. Install as it does currently.

If you happen to find yourself in this predicament, here is what to do:

1. Run Control Panel and remove everything related to SQL Server 2005.

2. If you have a Registry Cleaner, run it. This is not essential, but I always do this after radical surgery to my setup.

3. Reboot.

4. Install the real SQL Server 2005.

This recipe will fix the problem, and you'll be up and running again.

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