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Minimum setup for SQL Server Express application Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, May 13, 2013 9:50 AM
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We need to set up remote desktop (or laptop) computers (not in network) with a copy of the master database that is accessed from a .NET windows application.
I was planning to install SQL Server Express (2008 R2) runtime on each remote computer.

What is the minimum I need? Can I install a few DLLs and point it to a copy of an .mdf file with the connection string?

Is it possible to point SQL Server Express to the database file without having to install the SSMS on each computer?

Post #1452184
Posted Monday, May 13, 2013 12:56 PM


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What is the minimum I need? Can I install a few DLLs and point it to a copy of an .mdf file with the connection string?

You would need to install the SQL Server Express Run Time Database Engine.

You don't need report services or full-text features unless your application requires it.



Is it possible to point SQL Server Express to the database file without having to install the SSMS on each computer?

Yes it's not needed, only if you needed SSMS.



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Post #1452278
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 2:48 AM
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You should not put any user tables or other items in the master database. Use your own database for your own items.

Also it is worth looking at SQL 2012 Local Database. This installs a few DLLs and allows you to do simple SQL on a SQL Server database file. It is the lightest weight version of SQL Server that is available. However, it does need exclusive use of the database file. If you want to have shared use then you will need a full SQL Express install.


Original author: SQL Server FineBuild 1-click install and best practice configuration of SQL Server 2014, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 and 2005. 28 July 2014: now over 30,000 downloads.
Disclaimer: All information provided is a personal opinion that may not match reality.
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Post #1452434
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:38 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I will look into SQL 2012 Local because that is exactly the type of thing I need. Will it work with a 2008 R2 data file or would we need to upgrade our development and server databases to 2012?

Next question: without the SSMS how do I configure Express or Local so it "knows about" the user database? I have always done a backup and restore to copy from one server to another.
Do I need to do everything with scripts run by code? Or can I set up a prototype of the remote and then copy the master db file along with the user db file to other remote computers?

Sorry I am mainly a developer having to do everything. If you can point me in the right direction that would be helpful.
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Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:05 AM
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This has details about installing and using LocalDB http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh510202.aspx

Ther are no documented restrictions I have sen on connecting to databases created before SQL2012, so you should be OK to use databases created by SQL 2008 2. However, you may not then be able to use a database file opened by LocalDB on anything earlier than SQL2012 - you need to test this yourself.

SQL 2012 LocalDB is part of the SQL Express offering, so it looks like it is free to use as described in the SQL Express licensing terms.

If you go down the route of installing a full copy of SQL Express, it is not advisable to copy the master db files to all of your instances. The SQL Express install will create its own master DB file (and files for the other system databases) and you should use the files created during the install.


Original author: SQL Server FineBuild 1-click install and best practice configuration of SQL Server 2014, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 and 2005. 28 July 2014: now over 30,000 downloads.
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Post #1452603
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:16 AM
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When I just re-read my original post I realized there is a problem with terminology. To clarify, when I said

timwell (5/13/2013)
... with a copy of the master database ...

I meant the "master" or "primary" copy of our user database at the Admin office, not the master DB in SQL Server.

Hope that clarifies what I am asking ...
Post #1452608
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:08 AM
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OK. Should have done some research before asking so many questions...

Looks like Xcopy will take care of what I need to do (although I have not copied anything yet.
It requires the database to be offline (with respect to SSMS) and some modifications to the connection string. (I did test that part)

Here is a link to the article:

Xcopy Deployment (SQL Server Express)
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms165716(v=sql.105).aspx

Not sure if it works for the 2012 version...
Post #1452731
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