Installing SQL Server 2005 on Vista

Perhaps this is not so much an issue with installing SQL Server 2005 on Vista, but of the way I install SQL Server 2005 on Vista, or even more accurately install it on my laptop on Vista.

A SQL Server will expect to run constantly on the machine that it is installed on. However, not on my laptop. I generally have SQL Server turned off on my laptop because it uses resources that it does not need. I don’t frequently use SQL Server on my laptop but I do need it sometimes. Because of this, during the installation I customise it so that the SQL Server services do not start up automatically as they normally would.

There is a slight problem with this approach I’ve discovered when installing on Vista. SQL Server 2005 came out before Windows Vista and they don’t actually get along out of the box. You have to install SQL Server 2005 SP2 (or so several dialogs claim) before you can start working with SQL Server 2005 on Windows Vista.

At the end of the process for installing SP2 it will let you know that admin users on the Vista box will not be admin in SQL Server unless you are explicit about which users to add. It then launches a “SQL Server 2005 User Provisioning Tool for Vista” to allow you to set up the admin users. However, if the SQL Server services are not running it cannot do this – the User Provisioning Tool will run, but when you apply the changes it will popup an error message and quit. So, it would seem that what I should have done is let the installer get on with running SQL Server 2005 when it finished so that the admin users could be set up. However, I didn’t and it failed. So, without any users set up on the SQL Server I could not log in.

After hunting around on disk for this User Provisioning Tool I discovered that the SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration tool will allow me to launch the tool by pressing the “Add New Administrator” link in its dialog. So, with the SQL Server services (all of them indicating in the User Provisioning Tool, in my case the Database Engine and the Analysis Services) running I add myself to the list of users, click OK and…. A moment later everything seem to work. There is no confirmation, the dialog just goes away without any error messages. To test it worked I opened up the SQL Server Management Studio and attempt to log in. It works. I’m happy.

Now, finally, I go and limit the amount of memory I’m prepared to allow SQL Server to use. See my post on managing SQL Server’s memory usage. It is a laptop after all…

Please note that this was using SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition.


  1. This is exactly what I needed. Thanks CurtisSQL Server 2005 Dev was a real pain to get setup of this class.Thanks again!

  2. Matt Philmon says:

    Thanks alot Colin. That last part about where to find the User Provisioning Tool really helped me out.

  3. marcos says:

    Obrigado !! mas tem como instala o SLQ NO VISTA ??????

  4. arvind says:

    Give Me SQL setup for installing C#

  5. @arvind That does not make any sense.

  6. Aaron says:

    thanks a lot, excatly what I need.

  7. Same thing happened to me, couldn’t find the provisioning tool. Thanks!

  8. anand says:

    i am not getting enterprise manager when installing sql server 2005 on xp / vista.where i am lacking plz guide

  9. @anand: There is no Enterprise Manager with SQL Server 2005. It has been replaced with the SQL Server Management Studio

  10. Rashna says:

    Hey Thanks !! That really helped a lot !!

  11. pcbharti says:

    Hello, Suffering from the same problem. I am downloading Sql Server 2005 SP 2. Tell me that To install it shall i uninstall all the SQL 2005 from my laptop?? One more thing i want to ask that if i am installing SQl Server 2005 do i need to uninstall Visual Studio 2005??Please tell me soon.Thanks.. 🙂

  12. @pcbharti Don’t uninstall SQL Server 2005 from your laptop unless you have a reason to. You have not stated a reason to uninstall SQL Server 2005. You have stated a reason to keep it. i.e. you are downloading SP2 and I assume you intend to install that, which needs SQL Server 2005 to be present already.No, you shouldn’t need to uninstall VS 2005.

  13. Al says:

    I downloaded SQL server 2005 (SQLEVALX64) from microsoft site. I went through all the installation steps but with no success. In other words. although the installation finished, it’s not installed. I mean SSIS, SSAS and all are not installed. I need help please. Oh, I’m installing on vista home editionAl

  14. Al says:

    I downloaded SQL Server 2005 to install on vista home. Although I went through the installation steps as directed, almost all the components did not install. Can someone help me?ThanksAl

  15. AFAIK the only editions of SQL Server that will run on a non-Server SKU of windows are developer edition and Express.

  16. Al says:

    Colin Angus Mackay,I downloaded and installed Developer edition but almost all (SSIS, SSRS, etc) not installed. I now uninstalled it. BTW, which setup should I run? the one in the server folder. correct?Thanks

  17. I would suspect the setup in the root of the disc (I am, of course, assuming you downloaded an ISO image of the installation disk).Also, did you check the options in the installation to install these additional bits?I’ve only ever needed to install SQL Server a limited number of times and I’ve never run into these particular problems, you might have better luck asking on a forum such as CodeProject’s database forum. There might be someone there who has experienced the problems you’re having and can advise you of a solution.

  18. Al says:

    I downloaded the executable NOT the ISO images. What I did was 1. saved the downloaded executable to a directory, 2. extracted it to another directory 3. under the server folder I ran the setup.Yes, during the installation step, I checked all (SSIS, SSRS , etc) of them. Now, I’m downloading the ISO image which is taking years with highspeed DSL. Colin, For now I’m just hoping installing from the ISO image would work. But, meanwhile, If you have new technique please let me know.Thanks,

  19. I’ve already suggested that becuase I’ve not seen this error before and I don’t know what the actual issues you are having with it are that you try asking on a forum. You will get many people more seeing your question there and some of them may have experienced the same problems are are able to help. In this case, I’m sorry but I cannot help.

  20. S Sain says:

    hello AL,I am facing the same problem you are having, but could not get solution. I tried to run exe extracted from ISO file. but most of the files not get installed.have you found the solution plz reply to me.

  21. This is just a blog post about a problem I had installing SQL Server and what I did to get it to work. I’m not an expert in SQL Server, I’m primarily a C# developer that just happens to use SQL Server. If you have a different problem installing SQL Server then I’m sorry that I cannot help. This is not a forum. If you want specific help with SQL Server then may I suggest you try a forum that deals with that sort of thing.

  22. karthic says:

    Hello, How to install the MIcrosoft SQL server2005 in VISTA operating system

  23. @karthic Did you read the blog post above?

  24. amananni says:

    i like to the C# to sql installl plz write back for code. how to do.

  25. Vivek says:

    hiI have installed SQL Server 2005 (not express) on my laptop with Vista for local use.but i m not able to connect to the server.Can any one tell The Default server Name.m stuckRegards,Vivek

  26. @Vivek, The default server name is simply the machine name. i.e. It has no instance name so the name is simply the name of the machine on its own.

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  28. Jeem says:

    i installed SQL 2005 pefectly on my vista but logging in is the problem. server Type=database egineServer name =?.what could be my server name? is it my defauly computer name which i used and it is not taking. do i need to do any configuration? thanks in anticipation of your response

  29. @Jeem The server name will be the machine name optionally followed by a slash and instance name that you would have set during the installation process. Alternatively, if you have not turned on TCP/IP as an access method you can access the server on the local machine by using “(local)” as the server name.

  30. Pls i have problem installing SQL server 2005 on Vista Home Premium.How would help me with this?

  31. Colin Mackay says:

    @Salami Quadri That’s a big vague. What “problem” do you have exactly?

  32. LIBZ says:

    wow gr8 answer…i got exactly wht i need..thanks……

  33. Vishwesh says:

    Hello,I am having SQL Server 2005 standard edition and also having SP2 for the same. But as mentioned above I started SP2 installation first. It has not found any SQL server instance on my machine. So it has closed. After that I have forcefully installed the SQL server 2005 standard edition then during installation it is not allowing me enable the SSRS option. I have installed IIS 7 already and I am using Vista Premium version with SP2. Can anyone help me out of this??–Vishwesh

  34. ovee says:

    hey there,you soluation abt the service pack 2 worked.thanx a lot for that .can u give me some link frm where i can get some free ebooka about swl server or database, rhnx ovee

  35. lhen says:

    hi, im using the enterprise edition in vista. same with you, i was unable to log in to the server. I also tried the SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration tool but there was no available privileges to add.. can you help me on this? 😦

  36. megha saxena says:

    hi.., i want to ask which type of problms occured in sql server 2005 on vista…actually i have installed sql server 2005 on vista….so please tell me

  37. @ Megha: That’s a very broad and vague question. One that does not and, indeed, cannot have a definitive answer. Also, my blog is not necessarily the right place to ask that.

  38. karzan says:

    how can I work primavera 5 in vista .I have a problem in SQL server data

  39. katie k says:

    Can you help with something? I am searching for this answer: A friend of mine has two Windows updates that keep failing. They are SQL Server 2005 Service pack3 and 4. She is not a techie and she has a Vista Home computer. I don’t think she should have these updates. So how can we stop them? She has no interest in a server.

    1. Colin Mackay says:

      Something must have installed SQL Server 2005. It could just be the express edition. If you want rid of SQL Server then go to the control panel to Add or Remove Programs and find the installation of SQL Server, (it will probably be marked as “Microsoft SQL Server”). However, if your friend did not install SQL Server and it was part of another program that your friend uses, uninstalling SQL Server could mean that the other program cannot function any longer.

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