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Installing MSDE

The basic plan for installing MSDE is pretty typical of product installations:

  1. Download the installation kit, or order the CD for a small shipping and handling charge.

  2. Expand the installation kit if it is compressed.

  3. Read the readme.txt, readme.htm, and other documentation.

  4. Run setup.exe.

There are several different versions of MSDE available, however, and their installation instructions differ slightly. The following two links can help if you want to run MSDE with Visual Basic 6:

This article focuses on the SQL Server 2000 version of MSDE that is included on the Visual Studio .NET CD-ROMs. This version is also called MSDE 2000 and the SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine, so you may find Web pages and other documentation that refer to it by those names.

When you run the Visual Studio .NET installation program to install Visual Basic, MSDE is selected by default. If you don't uncheck its box, MSDE is installed automatically. If you're not sure whether you unchecked the box or not, look for this directory:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET\Setup\MSDE

If that directory exists, you probably installed MSDE. If this directory is missing, you probably unchecked the MSDE box during installation. In that case, reinsert the first Visual Studio .NET CD, and rerun the installation program. Check the Desktop Engine box, and follow the installation program's instructions.

The Visual Studio .NET installation program copies the MSDE files to your computer's hard disk, but doesn't finish installing MSDE. It suggests that you do so right after the Visual Studio installation, but hopefully you did not follow its advice because there are a couple of things you should do first.

After the Visual Studio installation program finishes, open this file in a text editor:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET\Setup\MSDE\setup.ini

Initially the file looks like this:


Edit the file, and change the default INSTANCENAME parameter from VSdotNET to whatever name you want to give the server. For example, to name the server NetSDK, I changed this line to INSTANCENAME=NetSDK. My computer's name is Bender, so programs refer to this server as Bender\NetSDK.

Next add the parameter SECURITYMODE=SQL at the end of the file. That makes the server use SQL-style security instead of Windows user authentication. Changing this now prevents some problems later.

The file should look something like this:


Now you are ready to finish the MSDE installation. The instructions tell you to execute this program:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET\Setup\MSDE\setup.exe

When you do, the program creates the server on your computer.

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