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I am a Project Manager and Developer with an emphasis on Enterprise Content Management and Business Process Management systems.

With over 20 years of experience in large and small systems design and implementation. Currently based in the Raleigh NC area.


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This should not require a blog post! That being said, I struggled on and off for several days before I hit the right sequence of steps to install the SSMS package onto my existing instance of SQL Server 2008 Express.

assume1 When I initially installed SQL Server 2008 I downloaded the version that said it was “with tools”, assuming that meant I would get the light version of the Management Studio along with the instance. Okay, I know what assume means. And as usual, it did not work as it should have. I ended up with a bare bones Express instance.

So, how hard can it be to add the management studio to an existing instance I say? Ridiculously non-intuitive as it turns out. I did not want to do an uninstall and reinstall cycle since I now had SharePoint 2007 up and running with all of its database connectivity working.

Fired up the installer, navigated to the point where you choose to either install a new instance, or add features to an existing instance. Now being your typical geek I thought, well since I have an instance already, and I just want to add the Management Studio the obvious choice here would be to select add to existing instance!

HAH! That’s what I thought, after hours trying with every available download version of the Express installer, I gave up. Figured I would have to eventually bite the bullet and uninstall and reinstall.

Then I decided to go ahead and do what I figured would be a side by side install of two instances, just to get the tools. Figured I could always come back and disable the second instance etc.

So I downloaded the SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express from Microsoft one last time. Fired up the installer, selected New Instance, rather than add to existing instance, and lo and behold, it would not let me install a new instance, but it did finally let me install the Management Studio!

I am sure to someone at Microsoft this makes perfect sense, I am equally sure they imbibe mind altering substances on a regular basis in enormous quantities! Whatever the case, at least I know have the Management Studio configured and running!

Posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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Just went through the same experience. Thx to your blog was able to figure it out without spending too much time. Thanks!

ps. "I am sure to someone at Microsoft this makes perfect sense, I am equally sure they imbibe mind altering substances on a regular basis in enormous quantities! Whatever the case, at least I know have the Management Studio configured and running!"

ROFL and agreed 100%
Left by Enes on Apr 05, 2010 7:31 PM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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wish I had seen this before.. just finishing uninstalling/re-installing everything.
Left by itguy78 on Aug 22, 2010 9:33 PM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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I'm sooooo glad I searched this before doing the same thing.

I should have figured MS wants you to do the exact opposite of what's most obvious...it keeps us IT folks employeed.

Thanks for staying skeptically optimistic and trying the option that absolutely should not work!
Left by Asmar on Aug 31, 2010 4:03 AM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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Thanks to your blog was able to figure it out without spending too much time. Thanks!
Left by all new casinos on Sep 27, 2010 6:02 AM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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Thanks! I have VS 2005 on my PC. I installed VS 2010. It upgrade my SQL from 2005 to 2008 but removed Management Studio. Unfortunelty, I went through the uninstall of VS 2010 and re-installed before I came across your e-mail. Wish I would have come accross this earlier.

Thank you!
Left by Harry Young on Feb 08, 2011 11:30 AM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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AHAHAA!! I went through this too for about 2 hours or more, then decided to search online for any solutions after pulling my hair off.

Assuming has always brought me to huge disappointments yet i still do it.

Thanks A lot!
Left by Ray on Feb 08, 2011 9:16 PM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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Thanks :)
Left by EvAlex on Feb 26, 2011 7:26 AM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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Thanks!

Really we think very different when compared to Microsoft's PHDs...

I have a MBA JajaJaja

Graate post!

J Ferrer

Left by The SQL Newbeeee on Aug 30, 2011 8:51 PM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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I really can't believe how unintuative some of Microsoft's tools are and this is a prime example.

Thanks for saving me A LOT of time.
Left by Senor Incognito on Mar 17, 2012 8:13 AM

# re: Installing SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express on an existing Express Instance
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2 plus years later and the same issue remains and the same non-intuitive solution still resolves the issue. Thank you for posting this out in the KB of SQL Blogs...being that this post was out there for me to find!!! I saved lots of time.

Thanks!!!!
Left by K2Play on Jan 22, 2013 6:59 PM

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