Visual Studio / SQL Server install order on Windows 7

Quite a while ago I blogged about the Visual Studio / SQL Server install order on Windows Vista. I’m about to go through a similar exercise on Windows 7 and given the issues I had then I thought that it would be only right to document the procedure in case any problems arose.

Last time, it would seem, the best solution was to install things in the order in which Microsoft released them with the notable exception of the operating system. So this time, that is the strategy that I’m going to take. Windows 7 is already installed on my laptop. Then I’m going to install Visual Studio 2008, then SQL Server 2008, then any patches for either and we’ll see how we get on.

I’m also going to ensure that I do NOT install SQL Server Express Edition on Visual Studio 2008 as I’ve had problems with that before. Essentially, the problem last time was that the SQL Server installer mistook Visual Studio’s SQL Server Express installation has having installed certain things. The SQL Server installation therefore didn’t want to repeat what it didn’t need to so it refused to install the client tools.

Install Order

  • Visual Studio 2008, excluding SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

Visual Studio 2008 Installer Removing SQL Express

  • MSDN Library (This is optional – I installed it because I’m occasionally developing on the road with no or limited connectivity)
  • Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 (this is required in order to install SQL Server 2008 – the installation will fail otherwise)
  • SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition


  • Install SQL Server 2008 SP1

That’s it – Job done. And it only took me two attempts to get it right this time. My stumbling block here was the order in which I applied the service packs.

SQL Server / Visual Studio Install Order

Yesterday I paved my laptop in order to upgrade to Windows Vista. I’ve now started to reinstall everything from scratch again. However, one thing that didn’t work out was the installation of SQL Server 2005. No matter what I tried I could not seem to get it to install the SQL Server Management Studio – somehow it was convinced that it already existed. I eventually figured out why.

I’d installed Visual Studio 2008 first, and as part of that installation it installed SQL Server 2005 Express edition. The express edition does not come with SQL Server Management Studio. When I went to install SQL Server 2005 it refused to install the management studio saying that more up-to-date versions of the tools were already available on the machine. (Well, I suppose some of them were, at least the ones installed by Visual Studio 2008’s installer). Running the Service Pack 2 upgrade did not help either. It concluded that the client tools were not valid as part of the upgrade and refused to install them.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that it would be quicker, given my recent wiping of my laptop to just start afresh again and install things in the correct order. I suppose I was lucky to have that option. I am also lucky that I don’t activate Windows until I’m sure everything is installed correctly – after all I do have 30 days to activate Windows. I’d hate to have lost an activation of Windows because of a dodgy install.

So what is the installation order I’ve now used that works:

  • Windows Vista SP1
  • Windows Update (my install required 33 updates)
  • SQL Server 2005
  • SQL Server 2005 SP2
  • Visual Studio 2008


PLEASE NOTE: The above is what worked for me. I’ve also heard that it has worked for others too. It comes with no warranties of any kind.

If you are having difficulty installing your SQL Server you may like to ask a question on one of the many fine forums that are available for asking questions of that nature. I tend to hang out on Code Project and may be able to help there. If I’m not around then one of the many other great members can possibly help you on their database forum.

What's New in Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1

Finally, Microsoft have a date for an event in Scotland. It is on 16th of October in their new offices in Waverley Gate, Edinburgh. Here are the details:

[Register for the event here]

16 October 2008 13:30 – 16:15
Welcome Time: 13:00

Microsoft Scotland
Waverley Gate
2-4 Waterloo Place
Edinburgh EH1 3EG

Event Overview

13.00 for 13.30 Registration

13.30 – 14.45 Session 1

14.45 – 15.00 break

15.00 -16.15 Session 2

16.15 close


Service Pack? We’re calling it a Service Pack? Are you kidding??!?!”

Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 will release later in 2008 alongside .NET Framework V3.5 Service Pack 1 and, together, they represent a significant upgrade to Visual Studio 2008. There are enhancements across many areas of the .NET Framework such as data access, windows application development and web development and there are also corresponding changes in the development environment to support the new framework features.

Session 1: What’s New for Web & Windows Development?

Here we’ll explore the changes to web and windows development with Service Pack 1. In the web space, we’ll take a look at the new controls added to ASP.NET for easy playback of media and Silverlight content and we’ll take a good look at the new Dynamic Data framework for quick “scaffolding” of a web site. In the Windows world, we’ll look at the new capabilities of Windows Presentation Foundation V3.5 Sp1 and the new, smaller, subset of the .NET Framework in the .NET Client Profile that makes deployment of WPF applications much easier.

Session 2: What’s New for Data?

The ADO.NET team have been busy for Service Pack 1 of Visual Studio 2008. There are two major new pieces of functionality – the ADO.NET Entity Framework provides a level of abstraction over your data store with a LINQ-enabled, object-relational-mapping API. The other new piece of functionality, ADO.NET Data Services easily exposes arbitrary data over a RESTful set of web services. In this session, we’ll explore both to give you an idea of what’s happening in data access. We’ll also make a brief mention of the changes around SQL Server 2008 data types and tooling.

Speaker Biogragphy:

Mike Taulty

Mike Taulty, Microsoft:  Mike has been in the team since 2003 and is currently looking at technologies such as Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1, Silverlight V2 and SQL Server 2008.  Before joining the Community team, Mike worked in Microsoft’s Services group as a developer consultant focused on helping ISVs and Enterprises develop their applications.  Prior to joining Microsoft, Mike spent the previous nine years working as a software developer for a number of different software houses, end-users and consultancies, making use of various operating systems, databases and what used to be called ‘middleware’.

Read Mike’s blog

Eric Nelson

After many years of developing on UNIX/RDBMS (and being able to get mortgages) Eric joined Microsoft in 1996 as a Technical Evangelist (and stopped being able to get mortgages due to his new ‘unusual job title’ in the words of his bank manager). He has spent most of his time working with ISVs to help them architect solutions which make use of the latest Microsoft technologies – from the beta of ASP 1.0 through to ASP.NET, from MTS to WCF/WF and from the beta of SQL Server 6.5 through to SQL Server 2008. Along the way he has met lots of smart and fun developers – and been completely stumped by many of their questions!

In July 2008 he switched role from an Application Architect to a Developer Evangelist in the Developer and Platform Group. Currently Eric’s interests include digging into LINQ to Entities, ADO.NET Data Services and switching from C# to Visual Basic development.

At home, he battles rat infestations, comes second to the family dog and uses any spare moments he has after 10pm to team up and play online with and against friends – keep an eye out for ‘erknel’ and say ‘hi’

Read Eric’s blog

[Register for the event here]


Cool switch snippet

I was watching one of the MSDN Screencasts today and Mike Taulty put in a switch statement that pre-populated itself with valid values for each of the case statements within the switch. I hadn’t seen this before so I investigated further (in other words, I emailed Mike and asked him what he did). It turns out this is a feature that has been in since Visual Studio 2005 and I’d only just noticed.

Essentially, if you are switching on an enumerator the snippet will expand with all the case statements created for you as you can see by the animation below. To access this, follow these steps

  • Type “switch”, the intellisense will show the word “switch” with the torn document icon, indicating it is a snippet.
  • Press the tab key twice to expand the snippet, this will also highlight the text “switch_on”.
  • Change the “switch_on” text to the name of the variable on which you want to switch.
  • Press return twice, this will further expand the switch statement filling in all the cases from the enumerator.

For an example, see the animation below:

switch snippet

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Contradictory messages

While attempting to create a database project in Visual Studio 2008 against a SQL Server 2008 database I got a rather odd error message. The dialog used to create the project requests information about the SQL Server database. It clearly states “The server version must be 2005 or later”. No problem, I thought. So I put in the information about my SQL Server and database in the dialog and tested the connection. So far so good. But as soon as I hit the “Okay” button I got a new message. Apparently, “Only servers up to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 are supported.”