Before you can begin using SQL Server, you have to install it.
The following video walks you through the installation of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express:
If you’re looking at this post or video and still wonder if you even need a database, see the first video in this series: What is a Relational Database?
I’d like to highlight a few points from the installation video to help the process go more smoothly:
- A version of SQL Server Express may already be on your machine. Visual Studio and other applications can install it silently.
- If SQL Server Express is already on your machine, you can still install a new “Instance” of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. You may just have to give it another name, such as SQLEXPRESSR2. Of course, you could also remove the existing SQLEXPRESS instance and then install SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. But make sure no applications have created databases on the current SQLEXPRESS instance that are necessary for their operation.
- SQL Server 2008 R2 Express has a very similar installation process to other paid editions, but if you’re using a different edition, you may have a few more steps and extra services and features to choose from.
- Finally, the video explains the steps in the installation and a few potential areas of confusion. But if you were to install SQL Server 2008 R2 Express on a machine without SQL Server, it should be possible to accept all of the defaults and breeze through the installation wizard.
After you complete your installation, you can verify that SQL Server 2008 R2 Express is installed by performing the following steps:
- On the Start Menu, expand All Programs.
- Select Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2.
- Click SQL Server Management Studio.
- At the connection dialog, type the server name “.\SQLEXPRESS” without quotation marks.
- Press the Connect button.
Note that if you manually selected a different named instance, such as SQLEXPRESSR2, then you would use that server name instead in the above steps (for example, .\SQLEXPRESSR2).
For more information:
- SQL Server Setup – Install and Upgrade (SQL Server DevCenter)
- Installation How-to Topics (MSDN)
- SQL Server Express Installation Resources (Technet Wiki)
- How should I Install SQL Server 2008 (SQL Server Express WebLog)
- Installing SQL Server 2008 R2 Express (SQL Server Setup Blog)
- R2 Express Installation + Screenshots (sqlserver-training.com)