Inaccuracies in recent article about SQL Express and Windows Vista

Owen Thomas wrote an article for the Business 2.0 secton of on December 15,2006 that made some inaccurate claims about SQL Express compatibility with the upcomming Windows Vista operating system. Mr. Thomas wrote that you "can't run the current version of SQL Server" on Windows Vista. This is not true, SQL Express SP1 is fully supported on Windows Vista.

We have documented this level of support at a number of locations on the Microsoft web site, including the System Requirements page and in our 'SQL on Vista' FAQ page. The fourth Q/A pair on the page states:

Q. What release of SQL Server 2005 will run on Windows Vista?
A. SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Service Pack 1 will run on Windows Vista but has known issues with User Access Control. For all other editions of SQL Server 2005, Service Pack 2 will be required for Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn" support when those products are released.


It is true that there is a known issue related to how Vista User Account Control impacts the ability to connect to a default installation of SQL Express SP1, but I've documented the way to work around that problem in here. (For most deployed application this issue will not be a problem as they already create explicit Logins to access the database rather than rely on the default Logins. See the post for more information.) I've also discussed how the installation process in SQL Express SP2 has been modified to help manage UAC in this post.

Just to reiterate...

SQL Express SP1 will run on Windows Vista.

Microsoft supports customers running SQL Express SP1 on Windows Vista.

If you have questions about running SQL Express on Windows Vista you should feel free to post a question in the SQL Express forum or to contact me through the e-mail link in this blog.

Mike Wachal
SQL Express team

Comments (3)

  1. leon.katsnelson says:

    Owen Thomas’s article is is based on the information provided on the Microsoft website. Here is the quote that very clearly states that SQL Server products will need to have SP2 applied to them before they should be used on Windows Vista for anything more then :

    "In an effort to provide customers with more secure products, Microsoft Windows Server "Longhorn" and Microsoft Windows Vista will only support SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later when it becomes available."

    I think most people take the information posted on the as being more authoritative than a claim on a blog. I myself spent consierable effort in early December to obtain a clear indication of the status of support for Windows Vista by the SQL Server. I got consitent answers from official Microsoft sources that SP2 was required for SQL Server 2005 and that SP2 is not yet available.

    I’ve always been very impressed with Microsoft marketing. Take it as a compliment coming from a competitor. However, I am in complete agreement with the author that in this particular case SQL Server’s unavailability or a lack of strong and unequivical statement of support for a major release of the operating system that Vista represents, allowed your competitor, DB2, to claim a stronger comitment to the Windows platform then Microsoft’s own product. From the marketing and perception view point, Owen Thomas is 100% correct. And let’s not forget that he writes for, a publication that represents the business side of the story.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I work for IBM and am responsible for the DB2 Express – C product.

  2. sqlexpress says:


    The same page where you’ve puledl that quote from, you will find the following:

    "SQL Express SP1 will be supported on Windows Vista for Vendors who need an embedded solution prior to the release of SQL Express SP2. SQL Express SP1 as known issues on Vista related to User Access Control."

    This clearly states that we do support running SQL Express SP1 on Vista.

    In the spirit of clarity of information, the information I’ve found on the IBM site seems to indicate that the current release of DB2 Express C is actually a tech preview, not a full release. (See Ryan Chase’s post in your forums from 12/13 – The preview was released to the same thread six days later.

    SQL Express SP2 has been available as a Community Technology Preview for almost two months. (You can download the most recent CTP from


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