Mailbag: Can I update Visual Studio 2005 setup to install SQL Express 2005 SP2?


I have been running silent installations of Visual Studio 2005 on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.  However, I have been having trouble on Windows Vista.  I get application compatibility warning dialogs during Visual Studio 2005 setup when installing on Windows Vista.  One of those warnings is caused by the version of SQL Express that is chained in as a part of Visual Studio 2005 setup.  In order to workaround this issue, I have been setting the registry keys that you listed in this blog post prior to running VS 2005 silent install.

I would like to avoid setting registry keys like this during my deployment process.  I saw a post on the SQL Server Express team blog announcing that SQL Express 2005 SP2 is now available for download.  This version of SQL Express has resolved the application compatibility issues and does not display any unwanted dialogs when I install it and run it on Windows Vista.

Is it possible to update Visual Studio 2005 setup so that it will install the new SQL Express 2005 SP2 instead of the older version that originally shipped with it?


Yes, you can replace the copy of SQL Express 2005 setup that is included in your Visual Studio 2005 install point and cause Visual Studio 2005 setup to install it instead.  The SQL Express setup package can be found in the \WCU\SSE folder in your Visual Studio install point.

The command line parameters that Visual Studio setup uses to install SQL Express and the detection method it uses to determine whether or not it needs to install it and whether or not installation is successful both work correctly with the original release of SQL Express 2005 and with SQL Express 2005 SP2.

One note regarding the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions - if you use the web downloader to install the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions, they contain a link in one of the setup data files that automatically downloads the original version of SQL Express 2005 during setup.  In order to swap in SQL Express 2005 SP2 in the Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition setup process, you will need to first create an installable layout by downloading the packages using steps like the ones that I previously posted in this article.