How to include SQL 200X Express with VB app.


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How to include SQL 200X Express with VB app.

Postby The Ricster » Sun, 29 Mar 2009 06:08:29 GMT

Hi all, I have searched everywhere for instructions on how to use sql
2005 (or 2008) express as the database for a multi-user app (built in
VB6), that currently uses an access db.

Here is the complete scenario: I need to install sql (w\ a custom .mdf
file) along with the Server version of my program, and have access to
the data over a lan, by the client versions of my program. No special
sql commands or functions are needed, the db will be used in the
simplest way, and passed sql commands via ado.

I would also like to make the installation as seamless as possible, with
the db being installed automatically by the application setup program
(Wise or PDW).

Does anyone know where to find a simple walkthrough explanation of how
this can be done, or can someone provide me with the steps to:
     1. Install the sql engine.
     2. Connect the custom db file to sql.
     3. Enable TCP/IP or Named pipes for lan communication.
     4. Do all this without user intervention.

any help would be greatly appreciated. 

The Ricster

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Re: How to include SQL 200X Express with VB app.

Postby Richard Mueller [MVP] » Sun, 29 Mar 2009 07:39:26 GMT

"The Ricster" < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote in message
news: XXXX@XXXXX.COM ...

You can download the setup program sqlexpr.exe for SQL Server 2005 Express
from the Microsoft site. Command line parameters are documented here:

There is a similar document for SQL Server 2008 Express. There are switches
for quiet install, to specify your instance name, and to enable TCP/IP
and/or Named Pipes. Note the requirements are not trivial: .NET Framework
2.0, MDAC 2.8, Windows Installer 3.1. See this link:

You must copy your mdf and ldf files to the local system and then run the
T-SQL statement to attach the database to your instance. In the past I found
that I must start the instance before the attach, as it seems to be stopped
after the SQL Server setup. I simply run the command "net start

When I used MSDE I tried to install both MSDE and my database in one setup
program (using InstallShield), using a merge module, but soon found that was
a big mistake. First, MSDE was not recognized by Windows Update so it was
not updated with security patches and SP's. Also, when I later tried to
upgrade the database (using InstallShield) I found that the first step is to
Remove, then install the new version. This blew the database away. I decided
the only solution was to have the customer run two setup programs, one for
MSDE and the other for the database. The later setup program deployed server
utilities, started the instance, and attached the database (using
InstallShield custom actions). So far I have decided that the same applies
to SQL Server 2005/2008 Express; I need one setup for the SQL Server Express
instance and another to deploy and attach the database. Note that .NET
Framework 2.0 must be installed before SQL Server Express. I believe newer
versions of InstallShield can handle this (I need to upgrade my
InstallShield once again, as seems necessary every year). Otherwise, you
must instruct your customers to install the Framework before running
sqpexpr.exe, if they don't have 2.0 (or higher) already.

If anyone else knows of any easier method, I'd like to hear it as well. I
decided that coding my own VB app to deploy SQL Server Express would be way
too complicated. Asking my customers to run the setup themselves would only
be reasonable if they install on a new OS, like Vista or Windows Server
2008. I don't want to no longer support Windows Server 2003, XP, (or even

Richard Mueller
MVP Directory Services
Hilltop Lab -

Re: How to include SQL 200X Express with VB app.

Postby Sm9obg » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 03:45:01 GMT

We've been successfully installing/deploying SQL EE 2005 along with our VB6 
app for a couple of years.  Our CD starts a Demoshield intro, which drops 
down to a CMD batch file to do the following:

ECHO  This Full_Install.bat Batch file will install the following:
ECHO       1. Dot Net Framework 20
ECHO       2. SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
ECHO       3. SQL 2005 Express Management Studio
ECHO       4. [our app] SQL Database
ECHO       5.  [our app]  Client Application

1.  Many PCs already have .Net 2.0 or newer, so enduser may need to plow 
thru this as needed.   

2.  Right from the comand line:  start /wait setup.exe /qb 

3.  Not essential, but nice to have if needed.

4.  We script everything.  
SQLCMD -S %COMPUTERNAME% -U sa -P SomePassword -b -i 
CreateOurAppDatabase.sql -i Tables.sql -i Procedures.sql -i Triggers.sql -i 
Data.sql -i CreateOurAppUser.sql

This has worked nearly flawlessly for us for most clients.   At least up 
until the recently introduced conflicts by Microsoft XML 6.0 SP2 and 200x 
Setups, which is a big problem for us, and poorly documented in 

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