Friday, November 20, 2009

Web Platform Installer on Windows 7 64 bit with SQL Server 2008 Express Edition

Solution to SQL Server 2008 Express problem on 64 bit machines!
I ran into this huge problem when doing the MVC series. If you are on a 64 bit machine, it seems the Web Platform Installer dowloads and installs the 64 bit version of SQL Express 2008.

1. Now you have a 32 bit Visual Studio and a 64 bit SQL Express 2008 install AND they do not work!
You need to manually install SQL Express 2008 32 bit from

Scroll down and find "Files in this download" and select the middle one


2. BEFORE you try to install, right-click on that .exe and go to compatibility and select Vista SP1 ( i'm on windows 7 x64)
If you do not do this it will fail the WOW64 test and refuse to install.

3. BEFORE you launch the install you have to UNinstall the SQL Server 2008 Express Edition 64-bit from Add Remove Programs in Start -> Control Panel. Othewise you will have to use a "non-default" instance name for your server (if you are a newbie, you might not want that)

4. Now you can try to install that SQLEXPR_x86_ENU.exe.

Good luck!


If you get this error "Failed to generate a user instance of SQL Server due to a failure in starting the process for the user instance. The connection will be closed."

Start up Microsoft SQL Server 2008 > Configuration tools > SQL Server Configuration Manager
(by typing "sql" in Start -> Search box)

Select SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS) and right click and choose Properties and you'll get the properties window. It must say Built-In Account: Local System.

Then go to C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server Data

THAT'S IT.... NEXT TIME YOU DOUBLE CLICK ON THAT DATABASE INSIDE VISUAL STUDIO... it will open (might take 20 sec the first time)