I’m sure you will hear this many times in the coming days.  If you are a software developer writing code for internal use or resale, and you are using MSDE as your database engine, it is time to upgrade.

SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is the newer version of MSDE and has many advantages.  You get a management tool, reporting services, and a larger database size among other things.  It is not difficult to upgrade. 

MSDE is not dead.  MS will continue to support it for a little while longer… just not on new versions of the OS.  So if your users are staying on XP Pro, you are fine, in a way.  Someday, your users will call up Dell or HP and order a PC, and it will have Vista on it.  Why wait?

Check it out. Benefits of Upgrading MSDE to SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

[update 8/5/06]  Alas, I find that I am not the correct person to be sharing this kind of news.  I was rather expecting this news to be posted in more places, so that I could add a long list of links at this time.  I can share a long list of other blog sites that have discussed the issue.  There is a Microsoft blog that has attempted to create a better impression, so I’ll add a link to Eric Nelson’s blog.  If you’d like more information on the decision not to extend support for MSDE to the Vista operating system, please start there. 

One further note: MSDE does run on Vista.  However, there is no support for it and new installations will not be legally OK after 2007.   Personally, asking a software vendor who has been shipping a seven-year-old free database engine to move up to one that is 100% compatible, better, faster, and easier to install, includes tools that the original one was missing, and is also free is not asking that much.  The biggest hit will be on corporations who spent money writing apps on MSDE.  

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

4 thoughts on “If your app uses MSDE and you want it to run on Vista… UPGRADE to SQL Server Express”
  1. Does this mean MSDE won’t work on Vista? or that you won’t be able to get support from MS for running MSDE on Vista?

  2. If this is a genuine compatibility change, can you please get it published prominently on the MSDN SQL Server, Data Access and Windows Vista developer centres. If you mean that you won’t entertain support calls, get a change made to the support lifecycle pages on support.microsoft.com. If MSDE is a deprecated, but still supported (i.e. it will run, you will take support calls) component on Windows Vista, please get that published on the developer centres so we can take note of it for planning a migration in the near future.

    If you’re just trying to advise us to move us off MSDE to SQL Server Express, we hear you, but don’t make it sound like our applications will break if they won’t. It’s perfectly OK for Vista to throw a compatibility warning advising upgrade to Service Pack 4. If you make the wrong noises, we’ll simply have to advise our customers not to upgrade to Vista, which basically means your message has backfired.

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