Saved by SSEUtil (you should have it too if you are a SQL Express user)

I did my TechEd talk about LINQ to SQL (DEV 348 if you want to do an easy search) last Friday. The start was very rough. I went to the designated room a good 20 minutes in advance only to discover that the room had been changed in the morning based on online schedules. Looks like the endless buzz about LINQ and plugs in various talks (Luca's, Scott Guthrie's) did the trick and the interest surged way past the capacity of the original room.

The helpful staff at the gate pointed me and a few other attendees to the correct room number in the wrong part of the center (South instead of the correct on in North). For those of you who haven't been to the Convention Center in Orlando, it is almost a mile away. Fortunately after walking a bit, I decided to check one of the screens that was showing the updates and found the error and got to the right room just two minutes before (after informing the helpful but mistaken staff members). The room was large but quite hot - some issue with the AC I presume).

With no time to start afresh, I skipped the usual steps of rebooting and trying out the first step. That cost me dearly! Ten minutes into the talk and I got my first exception with SQL Server Express since the file was already attached. Not good! Without a DB to connect to, it would have been game over. Fortunately, Antoine's nifty utility SSEUtil.exe came to the rescue. A quick change to a command prompt and two executions is all it took

sseutil -m -l
sseutil -m -d C  (the mdf file path started with C:\)

Most in the audience saw it as a relatively minor glitch and probably forgave me for it. I did lose a few precious minutes that resulted in the loss of databinding demo in VB that I had meticulously planned.

Apparently, the audience liked the talk and rewarded me with pretty good scores and some in-person compliments afterwards. But that is besides the point. The main point here is that if you play around with SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, keep SSEUtil handy.

Thanks Antoine!

I hope to do a few more posts soon about LINQ to SQL questions at TechEd and TechMela and their answers. Stay tuned.