Connecting to SQL Server CE Edition

Category: sql server getstarted


JFWily2 on Sat, 19 Jan 2013 22:52:58

Hi There... I'm confronting some login issues with the new bundle of downloads that I've done over the last few days to get SQL up and running on my machine.  First I installed SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition.  Then the AdventureWorksLT data set.  Just now, I installed the SSME program but can't seem to get passed the initial login screen.  When I input what I think is the name of my local server( I receive the error message "Cannot Connect to '' Server.  I've used the name of my computer, my server name, and several other possible 'server names' but nothing seems to get me passed this initial login screen.  I've consulted several of the help articles with what seem to be good advice but nothing seems to resolve my inability to succesfully establish a connection.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 


Olaf Helper on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 09:17:56

First I installed SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition.  Then the AdventureWorksLT data set. 


Just to clearify: Have you really installed the Compact Edition (CE) or the Express Edition?

If it's the Compact Edition, then please change the "Server type" in the login dialog from "Database Enigne" to "Compact Edition". Then you have to select the wanted SDF file = Compact Edition database file or you could create a new one. Even if the CE do have "Server" in it's name, it's not server base, it's a client base system with a file access.

If it's the Express Edition, that this is installed as a name instance "SQLEXPRESS", so please use MachineName\SQLEXPRESS as "Server name". On a local system you can use optional ".\SQLEXPRESS" or "localhost\SQLEXPRESS".

JFWily2 on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 18:40:54

thank you for the reply.  It really is the CE. The "database engine" is grayed out in the first field of the login screen so their is no way to change it to "Compact Edition." Additionally, I have right clicked on "database engine" to explore the options and proceded to 'server group'.  From there I added the <myservername> and then 'registered server' from the right click menu as well. So the tree node panel has first 'database engine' then a child node '<myservername>'.  This doesn't allow me to connect either.  The suggestion you offered with SDF File=Compact Edition is beyond my insight.  Thank you! 

JFWily2 on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 18:42:07

Also I've tried logging in with localhost, ., and suffix \SQLEXPRESS and it doesnt let me in :(

V. Keerthi Deep on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 18:54:24

If you are using SQL Server 2005 management studio, and when you open SSMS, you get a connect dialog where you have option to choose the SQL Server compact when you click on the drop down of server type.

JFWily2 on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 19:14:25

Yes looking at your example I see that it's slightly different on my UI. The only greyed out option for Server Type is Database Engine. Everything else looks the same except my SSMS version is SQL Server 2005 not SQL Server 2008 R2 as shown in the screen shot.  I run Windows Server 2008 R2 Operating System, is that a problem?

Olaf Helper on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 19:25:50

Which version of SQL Server CE have you installed, 3.5 SP1 or 4.0?

If I remind it right, SSMS 2005 supports only CE 3.0, for CE 35.SP1 you need SSMS 2008R2, you can get it here: Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 SP2 - Express Edition => SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe / SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe

JFWily2 on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 19:33:59

3.5 is what I downloaded. I'll try your suggestion.

JFWily2 on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 20:25:12

Olaf- The 2008R2 SSMS installed succesfully.  I've established a connection to 2005 Compact Edition through the server type drop down menu.  I'm just now going to have to get familiar with what all it does.  My original reason for needing to use SQL was as a simple database for storing account login information on a dynamic webpage. This should get me back on track and help get started on the interesting journey of SQL as a development tool.  THNX!

Olaf Helper on Sun, 20 Jan 2013 21:05:27

Nothing at all. Please feel free to come back, if you have further questions.

There is also a dedicated CE forum available: SQL Server Compact

Steen Schlüter Persson - DK on Mon, 21 Jan 2013 12:49:07

Is it on purpose that you've installed SQL Server Compact Edition and not SQL Server Express edition? There are some significant differences on the two, so if you want to start learning SQL I'd suggest that you start with Express Edition. The Express Edition is closer to a "real" SQL Server than Compact Edition which is missing a lot of features.

If needed you can google the difference on the two, but here is at least one link that describes some of the differencies -