Catch the SQL Server 2005 Express, it’s the future and it’s free!

We’ve all been waiting a long time for SQL Server 20005 and not everyone has been able to get the betas to get an early look.  Well now anyone can get their hands on the beta 2 of SQL Server 2005 Express edition.


The Express edition, what’s that?  We never had a SQL Server 2000 express edition before; well we didn’t in name, but effectively we did in practice.  It was called SQL Server 2000 MSDE (SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine) edition, but for most it was just called MSDE.  It was all rather confusing, many people didn’t realise MSDE was SQL Server 2000, albeit with certain restrictions and the all too mystifying concurrent workload governor.


SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (SQL Server Express) is an easy-to-use version of SQL Server 2005, designed for building simple, dynamic applications.  Like its predecessor it is free to distribute, all though prior to its official release it’s not for production use.  SQL Server Express includes enhancements to setup and manageability making it easier to use than MSDE. SQL Server Express also utilizes simpler and more scalable performance limits than MSDE and the concurrent workload governor has gone!


SQL Server Express manageability is delivered through another free download, only released last month we now have Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Manager.  Designed for ease of use SQL Server 2005 Express Manager is filled with features to simplify, automate, and reduce the complexity of database support and administration.  This new tool gives us a major advantage over MSDE, what’s more is it also gives us the ability to administer existing MSDE and SQL Server 2000 installations, but remember its still beta at the moment.


To give you some idea of the new features in SQL Server Express here’s a short comparison between MSDE and SQL Server Express.


SQL Server Express 2005

MSDE 2000

Application XCopy support

Feature not present

Easy deployment because of no MDAC

MDAC is part of install

Client Replication for Transactional, Merge, and snapshot

Merge/snapshot publication supported in addition to replication subscription

Robust Setup UI

Basic setup UI

No agent

Agent present

Supports Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP1, and Windows 2003

Supports Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows NT4, and Windows 2003

CLR support

No CLR support

GUI tools provided

No GUI tools

Database size limit: 4G

Database size limit: 2G



No throttle

Workload throttle enforced

Deep integration with Visual Studio

Basic integration with Visual Studio



You can download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, associated articles and additional information from:


You can download SQL Server 2005 Express Manager from:


If you are a developer you may also be interested in the other members of the Express family, you can find these here:



Comments (7)

  1. Somebody says:

    I’d guess we’ll be waiting quite a bit longer for SQL Server 20005. You guys beta software that much in the future?

  2. Charles Chen says:

    Will the CTP that you linked for XM work with that release of SQL Server Express?

    I had some problems with this when I tried to install XM sometime back in late Nov./early Dec.

    The version I installed also required a different version of .Net 2 than what was being distro’d with VC# Express.

    Total pain in the butt to get it all working 😛

  3. Frans Bouma says:

    "We’ve all been waiting a long time for SQL Server 20005"

    I think we have to wait for that version a looooooooooooooooooong time indeed 😉

  4. Denny says:

    on my install I get an error … I have the Dec ctp of vs 05 and sql ex 05 so I wonder now is it the sql server bit thats broken or the express manager?

    here is the error:


    Method not found: ‘ColumnStyleCollection System.Windows.Forms.TableLayoutPanel.get_ColumnStyles()’. (XMApp)


    Program Location:

    at Microsoft.SqlServer.ExpressManager.ConnectionDialog.InitializeComponent()

    at Microsoft.SqlServer.ExpressManager.ConnectionDialog..ctor(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)

    at Microsoft.SqlServer.ExpressManager.ConnectionManager.Connect()

    at Microsoft.SqlServer.ExpressManager.XmApplicationModule.OnStartup(Object sender, EventArgs e)


    just downloaded and ran the install and thats it.

    Ah, the joys of beta bits!

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