We’ve been getting a few questions by our users about Visual Studio 2010’s support for SQL Server versions. So I thought it would be good to address them here (when one person asks a question, there are probably others thinking the same question.)
Visual Studio 2010 only supports SQL Server 2005+
Visual Studio 2010’s design time data tooling only supports SQL Server 2005 (including express editions) or later. What this means is that you will not be able to connect through the Server/Database Explorer to any older versions of SQL Server or use any of the data design tools that require Visual Studio to connect to the database (LINQ designer, datasource wizard, table editing, etc.) This does not mean that your ASP.NET pages will stop working; the .NET framework still supports older versions of SQL, so the runtime experience should not be affected. This decision was made at the request of the SQL division since Mainstream support for SQL Server 2000 ended in 2008.
Visual Studio 2010 full install upgrades SQL Server Express 2005 to 2008 SP1
Visual Studio 2010 will automatically upgrade your existing SQL Server Express 2005 to SQL Server Express 2008 if you choose the “Full” install option and you are on a x86 machine. If you are on a 64-bit machine with SQL 2005, you will need to download and upgrade it manually. If you do not want to upgrade your SQL Server Express 2005 instance to 2008, then you should choose “Custom” install and uncheck “Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express Service Pack 1”.
SQL Server 2008 R2 is released
SQL Server 2008 R2 Express was released last week. Please see the SQL Server Express blog for details on the updates to R2. Visual Studio 2010 is compatible with SQL Server 2008 R2 so things should just work. Note that Visual Studio 2010 does not install R2, so you will need to download it separately if you want to try it out.
Roger Wong | Visual Web Developer Team