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Install and Configure SQL Server 2008 Express 

Oct 10, 2008 04:04 PM

SQL 2008 Express is available free from Microsoft. It is a replacement for MSDE and SQL 2005 which will perform much better than its predecessors. SQL 2008 has no workload throttling like MSDE does and it supports up to 2 CPUs and 2GB RAM, where MSDE only supports 1 CPU and 1GB RAM.

If you are using MSDE and are considering managing more clients than you currently are, or are having problems with your Deployment Server or Notification Server running slowly even after optimizing your configuration, you will want to install SQL Server 2008 instead of MSDE.

SQL 2008 Express supports servicing SQL over your network and so it can be used for Deployment Server and Notification Server as long as you don't have enough clients that you will need more than 2GB RAM. However, network is not enabled by default, so there is some configuration required to get SQL Server 2008 Express to work correctly.

This article will guide you through the process of installing and configuring SQL Server 2008 Express so that you can use it with Deployment Server or Notification Server.

Download SQL Server 2008 Express

First, you will need to download SQL Server 2008 Express. You have two options to download. You can either download SQL Server 2008 Express without any management tools (61 MB) from or you can download SQL Server 2008 Express with management tools (219 MB) from

I recommend installing "SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools", it is worth the extra 150 MB to be able to troubleshoot your SQL Server if anything ever goes wrong.

Install SQL Server 2008 Express

SQL Server 2008 Express requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, if your server does not have .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 you will need to download .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and install it on your server. You can download .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 from

SQL Server 2008 Express requires Windows Installer 4.5, if your server does not have Windows Installer 4.5 you will need to download Windows Installer 4.5 and install it on your server. You can download Windows Installer 4.5 from

SQL Server 2008 Express requires Windows PowerShell 1.0, if your server does not have Windows PowerShell 1.0 you will need to download Windows PowerShell 1.0 and install it on your server. You can download Windows PowerShell 1.0 from

When you are ready to install SQL 2008 Express, follow these steps:

  1. Run SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU.EXE (or SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU) to install SQL 2008 Express.
  2. At the "SQL Server Installation Center", choose "System Configuration Checker" to make sure you are ready to install SQL 2008 Express
  3. When the "System Configuration Checker" has validated that you are ready to install SQL 2008 Express, return to the "SQL Server Installation Center" and click on Installation.
  4. Select "New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation"
  5. A setup support check will run. Make sure there are no errors or warnings, press OK.
  6. The "SQL Server 2008" Setup will now appear, on the Product Key page, click Next.
  7. Check the box "I accept the license terms" and click Next.
  8. Click "Install" to install the Setup Support Files.
  9. When the Setup Support Files install is complete, click Next.
  10. You will now be in the "Feature Selection" page. Select "Database Engine Services" and "Management Tools - Basic" and then click Next.
  11. In the "Instance Configuration" page, specify MSSQLSERVER in both the "Named instance" and "Instance ID" fields, this will force SQL Server 2008 Express to install as the Default instance. If you want to install as a named instance, specify a name other than MSSQLSERVER.
  12. Click Next twice.
  13. You will now be in the "Server Configuration" page. Change the SQL Server Database Engine's Account Name to "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM" and SQL Server Browser's Startup Type to Automatic, then click Next.
  14. On the Database Engine Configuration page, you can either leave it configured to use Windows Authentication Mode only or Mixed Mode (SQL Server authentication and Windows authentication). I usually enable Mixed Mode so that if for some reason my security gets messed up I always have a backdoor account (the SA account). If you choose Mixed Mode, you will need to enter and confirm a password for the SA account.
  15. Before you can continue, you will need to specify the group(s) that you want to have unrestricted access to SQL Server. Click "Add..." and select the group(s). I recommend that you at least add Administrators and the "Current User" (Service Account). When you are done here, click Next three times, and then click Install.
  16. When the installer completes, click Next and then Close.

Enable TCP/IP

Now that SQL 2008 Express is installed, we need to configure the Network options that are disabled by default.

  1. In the Start Menu, open Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2008 > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Surface Area Configuration
  2. In the Surface Area Configuration utility, click the link "SQL Server Configuration Manager"
  3. Expand "SQL Server Network Configuration" and select Protocols.
  4. Enable TCP/IP. If you need Named Pipes, then you can enable them here as well.
  5. Close the SQL Server Configuration Manager.

Add Firewall Exceptions

If you have a software firewall installed on your server, you will need to add exceptions for the SQL Server and SQL Browser services. If you are using Windows Firewall, do the following:

  1. In your Control Panel, open the Windows Firewall applet.
  2. Go to the Exceptions tab.
  3. Click Add Program
  4. Browse to and select "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.10\MSSQL\Binn\sqlservr.exe"
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Add Program
  7. Browse to and select "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlbrowser.exe"
  8. Click OK and then click OK again.

If you are using a third-party software firewall, you will need to follow their instructions to add exceptions to sqlservr.exe and sqlbrowser.exe.

Restart the Services or Reboot the Server

When you have completed all of these steps, you will need to restart the SQL Server and SQL Browser services to complete the process. If you still have problems, you may need to restart your server.

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Sep 01, 2015 03:31 AM

Open SQL Server Configuration Manager and make sure that you have enabled "Named Pipes" per your SQL Instance and "SQL Browser" service is running


If you will use a SQL auth via SQL user 'sa', then make sure that this user is enabled, since by default it is disabled.

Aug 31, 2015 01:23 PM

sir iam new to this .I had just istalled this when iam connecting to server it shows error like this


A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server) (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 2)


it is not connected to server .any suggestions plz


Dec 10, 2014 10:52 AM

Thank you :)

Nov 14, 2013 03:52 PM

This article Perfectly helped me. Thanks Alot.

May 30, 2013 04:46 PM

Hi,, I have a problem after installing sql express and completed succesful. The Management studio is not found anywhere, the start menu no, all programs>Microsoft SQL 2008> No. only the import and export Data and configuration Tools.


 please help me to find Management studio tool

Jun 20, 2012 04:44 AM

Hi,, I have a problem after installing sql express and completed succesful. The Management studio is not found anywhere, the start menu no, all programs>Microsoft SQL 2008> No. only the import and export Data and configuration Tools.

Please Help


Nov 25, 2011 05:14 AM


Thank you for your helpfull article. I have a small problem when I install the SQL Enterprise. it just hang while installing Support Files. I dont know if it machine problem coz im using Windows & Ultimate bt I also downloaded the Express still no luck.

Can you pplz help me 

Oct 31, 2011 10:57 PM

I have installed, uninstalled and reinstalled to find exactly the same issue.  The SQL data management studio does not come with my download but Import and Export Data and Configuration tools does come with the download.  I am not sure how this has happened....TWICE.  I have also followed the Utube install that is most up to date and still no luck.  Does anyone have and idea why this is happening?

Thanks for any help you can provide.  

Apr 21, 2011 04:07 AM

Thank you!!!! This is much easier!

Any work done on automated installs failing alot?  We're constantly dealing with failed installs that we hvae to do a manual gui install with the same options and then it works just fine (in fact we use the same script and just remove the silent flag and just click next a bunch of times)


Apr 14, 2011 02:22 AM

Great post man!

It's a very painful experience to install the service pack to sql express...with all that parameters...come on!'s just and update! I will translate it and post it on my blog site, obviuosly referencing you, if you are ok with that....

Feb 14, 2011 06:54 PM

Do you have updated links for windows 7 64 bit? Thanks.

Dec 07, 2010 06:29 AM

Thank youuuuuuuuu.....Love youuuu....mmmmuahhhhh :)
You saved my day!!!

I spent days trying to handle this problem, including uninstalling SQL Server Express and reinstalling it....again and again... Nothing worked until I followed your instructions. Now it's working like it should.

Apr 22, 2010 07:55 AM

I appreciated this article, but I have a problem with the instalation of SQL 2008 expres. Everything worked OK according to the steps mentioned in the article, but when I want to install SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe over, I receive a message of incompatibility and some sort of recommandation to install sp1 or other newer sp! I tried to deinstal and install SP1(SQLEXPR_x86_ENU.exe) but I get the same message again. The message is in german, since I have a Windows 7 German Profesional. I want to install some aplications I wrote and I speak English (very poor German, but the client is Austrian...). So could it be a problem that I try to install all these SQL 2008 express in English? I did it before on a Vista (GErman) without problems...
I would appreciate any sugestions,
added 22.04.2009:
OR, is it possible that because I have FAT I can not go further to SP1 and Managemet Studio with my SQL2008 express?

Feb 22, 2010 06:36 PM


Following this post and:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.10\MSSQL\Binn\sqlservr.exe

must be:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Binn\sqlservr.exe

on Windows Server 2008.

See you.

Dec 27, 2009 10:20 PM

I live in France, I have a french computer but I do not read French very well. I am trying to install MSSQL2008 but it keep defaulting to french. I realise this is because my system is in French but I have managed to get English versions for almost everything but this.

Can anyone tell me how I can stop it defaulting to my system language.

Every Hopeful!

Aug 10, 2009 01:15 PM

I have only tested this install with Deployment Server. NS6 is not supported to be run on SQL 2008.

Aug 07, 2009 08:58 PM

In this post, Condorman is only talking about Deployment Solution 6.9. Deployment Solution 6.9 SP1 and SP2 officially support SQL Server 2008. Check the following KBs for more information:

DS 6.9 SP1 Release Notes:
DS 6.9 SP2 Release Notes:

On the other hand, The Symantec Management Platform 7.x  (aka NS7) is scheduled to have SQL Server 2008 support with the 7.1 release. For NS 7 release information, please visit the following KBs at:

NS 7.0 SP2:
Symantec Management Platform Support Matrix:


Jul 24, 2009 09:30 AM

Hi tjdevs,

Thanks for your info.

I have found out what was wrong with the installation.  It is actually a culture issue with Vista in language other than English. 
Thanks to the contributor ChrisTorng from Microsoft Connect".  From his hints, I made the issue resolved.

The "SQL Sever 2008 Express with SP1" in fact is looking for performance registry enteries 0404 and 0C04 in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Perflib\". 
The key 0C04 is misiing in my case where I am using Vista Business (Traditional Chinese version). 

After I have created Key 0C04 and copy exactly the contents of 0404 to Key 0C04, everything went well.

For Vista in other language, a tool called "Process Explorer" (can be found in Microsoft website can be helpful in finding out which key is missing. 

Run Process Explorer along-side with the "System Configuration Checker" of "SQL Sever Installation Center" program. 
When the SQL Setup100.exe process is highlighted, Process Explorer would show two items:
(1) "Section  \BaseNmaedObject\NLS_00000C04_Exception_Table_3_2"; and
(2) "Section  \BaseNmaedObject\NLS_00000404_Exception_Table_3_2". 

From here and from running RegEdit, one could identify which one Registry Key is missing.

Hope this would help other users trying to install "SQL Sever 2008 Express with SP1" on Vista in other language.


Jul 19, 2009 04:58 PM

I suspect you are running the SQLServer 2008 XE installer file directly from a CDRom or other portable device, better to extract the archived file SQLEXPR_x86_ENU.exe to a local volume (e.g. C:\SQLEXPR_x86_ENU folder) and run the setup.exe from there -- that way you will always have the install media available and this should avoid such errors. Also ensure installing with user whom as Administrative system rights.
You must have at least MSi 4.5 version, download and reinstall this from Microsoft.

Jul 16, 2009 08:10 AM

Prior to installing MS SQL Server 2008 Express with SP1 on my SONY VAIO Windows Vista Business (Chinese version), I perform the following steps:

1) re-install Vista from scratch;
2) update the Vista with all updates available (up to 2009.07.14) including Vista SP2;
3) download and install .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and then install its update "KB959209";
4) download and install Installer 4.5, but the installer indicated "this updae is not
applicable to your system", probably it is because my system has already msiexe.exe
version 4.5.6002.18005 installed;
5) download and insall Windows PowerShell 1.0.

When I install the SQL Server 2008 Express with SP1 (run "SQLEXPR_x86_ENU.exe"), everything goes well but where the System Configuration Checker of SQL Server Installation Center is run, the "Checks if existing performance counter registry hive is consistent" fail (The
performance counter registry hive is corrupted. To continue, you must repair the performance counter registry hive. For more information, see

Could anyone please help me to resolve this problem?
(The help in is too too complicated!!!)

Again, when I run the SQL Server Installation Center again, the field "Installation Media Root Directory" of the Options tab is empty, I try to supply the name of the folder created when the above file "SQLEXPR_x86_ENU.exe" is run, but the error message says "'d:\folder name' is not a valid installation folder".

Does anyone know how to resolve this?


Apr 24, 2009 02:46 PM

Hi, sorry I wrote it was OK using eXpress 2008 with the RC2 NS7, in the final version, Altiris NS7 check the SQL version & refuse the install :-( Grrr. Any body know how to force install running all the same??? Because SQL2008 & W2008 are really best performance for same hardware (because of bloc size I think)... When will NS7 support 2008/x64? I receive an answer about 7.1? When 7.1?

Feb 23, 2009 08:38 PM

Hi, FYI, I never see the "SQL Server Surface Area Configuration" but directly select "SQL Server Configuration Manager" ;-)
& I don't try with NS6, but with NS7 (RC2), it works (seems to) ! Just care not to say "NS7\MSSQLSERVER", but only server name (like NS7) alone: or you get the error "Could not connect to server NS7\MSSQLSERVER or login failed ... (Error: 25 - connection string is not valid)". For the default name like 2000/2005 version; do not use the 2008 "default" name SQLEXPRESS that is a different: change the instance name to MSSQLSERVER when installing like said above, and you can ignore the warning "SQL 2005 not detected"... ;-) Well done CondorMan !

Nov 20, 2008 02:22 PM

Just want to clarify that you have tested this with NS6.

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