FAQ: "Installing" the SQL Server 2008 Express ClickOnce Bootstrapper for Visual Studio 2008 SP1

Clearly, the names of our components are getting too long, but that’s a matter for another post…

Many of you have noticed that the VS bootstrapper for SQL Express 2008 (and similarly the bootstrapper for Windows Installer 4.5) are installed by the Visual Studio 2008 Express SP1 products, but not by the VS SP1 patch that is applied to the non-Express versions. After noticing this, many of you have ask, “What’s up with that?”

The short answer is that it’s just one of those things that happens when two large development organizations get together, one group is using metric, the other is using standard and the next thing you know your Mars Probe is crashing; but I digress. The deal here is that we shipped SQL Express 2008 as part of VS Express 2008 SP1, so we included the necessary bootstrappers to support ClickOnce with the Express products. We didn’t include SQL Express in the VS 2008 SP1 patch (non-Express) so we didn’t include the bootstrappers. You can always install SQL Express 2008 for use with any SP1 edition of VS 2008, but the bootstrappers themselves are actually installed by VS, so we’ve got a gap. I’ve been talking to the VS team to get this sorted out, but in the mean time, here is a workaround to get the bootstrappers required for ClickOnce deployment of SQL Express 2008 onto your non-Express VS installations.

  1. Install any flavor of Visual Studio 2008 Express SP1.
  2. Go into the bootstrapper directory (C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Bootstrapper\Packages) and rename both the SqlExpress2008 and WindowsInstaller4_5 directories.
  3. Uninstall Visual Studio 2008 Express SP1.

OK, it’s silly, but it works. Steps 2 & 3 are optional if you don’t mind leaving the VS Express installation on your computer, but if you don’t want to keep it around you need to rename the directories to prevent the uninstall action from removing them. You don’t have to re-rename the directories because population of the ClickOnce Prerequisites doesn’t have anything to do with the directory names, it just scans the sub-directories under Packages and builds the list based on the manifests it finds there. There you have it, have fun.

– Mike

Comments (13)

  1. You’ve been kicked (a good thing) – Trackback from DotNetKicks.com

  2. shawncm217 says:

    Has there been any change in this situation?

  3. sqlexpress says:

    No change at this time.

  4. ghurlman says:

    Installing Visual Studio 2008 Express for C++ doesn’t install the bootstrappers.

  5. allancat says:

    This works ok,

    as next step I want to populate and configure the database in the same time as setup.  No good support for everyday development problem found so far.

  6. jsage says:

    Unfortunately there does not seem to be a solution for SQL Server 2008 Express SP1 which is required for installation on Windows 7. I can understand that there is a limit to what can be bundled with VS but surely it must be possible to provide the necessary bootstrapper files for download along with the distributables. I have posted a suggestion on Connect, please vote for it if you agree:


  7. jsage says:


    Probably too late now but if not or for anyone else, try the following:


  8. soruav says:


    i want to install sql server 2008 ,

    and that required .netframework 3.5,

    but i m already install it, but it always required.. why???

    plz help me ….

    its my email id- ssoni346@gmail.com

    so plz post solution

  9. MegaMik says:

    Why not go for .NET Framework 4.0 directly?

  10. Scott says:

    Perhaps I am being dense, but, "1.Install any flavor of Visual Studio 2008 Express SP1. " does not result in a SqlExpress2008 or WindowsInstaller4_5 directory.  I grabbed thhe c++ installer from here: http://www.microsoft.com/…/details.aspx.  What could I be doing wrong?

  11. Hi Scott,

    I'm jumping in my Way Back Machine here, but if I recall correctly the issue you're seeing is specific to C++ Express. For some reason the C++ folks decided they didn't need/want SQL Express, so they don't ship it with that SKU, thus you don't see the directories.

    You actually have to install one of the other VS Express SKUs (VB, C# or VWD) to get the desired directories. Sorry for the oversight in my original post.


  12. Naser says:

    hi guys

    i have problem like this i export my project but doesn't work in another computer (i should install the vs10) . and i installed sql express sp1 but i didn't get result (and i installed .net frame work 4 before the sql express)