More info: a "stand-alone" installer for Management Studio Express 2008

Last February, I blogged about something I was initially very happy about: a stand-alone installer for Management Studio Express (SSMSE) 2008.  Now users could allegedly download a much smaller installer, and only install the client tools without having to install an instance of SQL Server Express.  While the latter is true, the former remains a pipe dream.  Bill Ramos stated in his 2009-02-20 announcement: "We teased out the Tools portion of SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools into it’s own download."  But this is not entirely true.  When you go to the download page, you see this:


This is a far cry from an install that only contains Management Studio Express (as a comparison, the 2005 version is < 40 MB).  It is smaller than the Express with Tools option (< 231 MB), but still much bigger than Express without any tools (< 90 MB).  So while they made an installer that allows you to install Management Studio Express on its own (though the process is not intuitive), they still make you download the whole thing.  I am repeating Bill's instructions here so that, when you're done groaning about how long it took to download the whole Express package, you will still be able to lay down *just* the tools (by "same installer" I guess he means "an installer that for some reason needs to be *able* to install an engine"):

The installation of SSMSE uses the same installer used for the full SQL Server 2008 product. To kick things off, you will want to:

  1. Follow the prerequisite downloads noted on the Download page for for Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 SP1, Windows Installer 4.5, and Windows PowerShell 1.0
  2. Go to the Installation page in the SQL Server Installation Center. Then, click on the top link for “New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation”.
  3. Click OK for the Setup Support Rules dialog.
  4. Choose to Install for the Setup Support Files.
  5. If you did step 1 ok, you will go into the full setup wizard where you will check Next for the “Setup Support Rules” step.
  6. For the Installation Type page, if you happen to have an instance of the SQL Server 2008 engine installed, don’t select to add features to it. Instead, select “Perform a new installation of SQL Server 2008” and click next.
  7. Click next for the Product Key page.
  8. Read the license terms, check that you accept the terms and then Next.
  9. For the Feature Selection page – click ON the check box for “Management Tools – Basic” and click Next.
  10. Click Next for the Disk Space Requirements if all checks out.
  11. Click Next for Error and Usage Reporting.
  12. If all goes well – click Next for Installation Rules.
  13. Then, click Install for the Ready to Install page.
  14. Complete the wizard and life is good.

If you don’t want to use the UI, you can do a command line install for the package.  For example:

SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe /q /FEATURES= SSMS /ACTION=Install

If you want to see progress, you can replace the /q option with /qs.

I wanted to post this entry because I am still getting active feedback complaining that my initial blog post did not provide what it advertised.  In fact, they are right.  Hopefully this is useful to someone.

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at SQLPerformance and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him. If I've helped you out, consider thanking me with a coffee. :-)