64Bit Web Development

I have recently been exploring Visual Web Developer 2008. I have virtually no development background aside from a few classes in high school and college. At first I started at home on my XP Professional box. Installation of not only VWD but SQL 2008 Express was easy using the Windows Platform Installer. This utility figures out what you already have installed, allows you completely customize the installation as well as add-ons, and means that you don’t have to download as many files. Big time saver…for 32bit systems.

I used this same utility to install VWD on a server at the office. A decent Dell PowerEdge 1800 with dual Xeon 3.6Ghz and 4GB of RAM running Windows Server 2008 R2. Installation appeared to go just fine. SQL 2008 Express x64 installed. The system then recommended that SP1 for SQL be installed. Okay, that is easy. The rest of the installation went fine as well.

However, within VWD when I attempt to add a database to the projecting by right clicking App_Data, Add New Item, SQL Server Database, I would get a strange error:

“Connections to SQL Server files (*.mdf) require SQL Server Express 2005 to function properly. Please verify the installation of the component or download from the URL: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=49251”

This is weird. I don’t even have SQL 2005 Express installed, how could it be causing a problem? The long story short is that this problem can’t be remedied by uninstalling and reinstalling. It can’t be fixed installing SQL 2005 Express and upgrading to 2008 Express. It can’t be fixed by download SP1 for SQL 2008. There is very little information about it. Even Microsoft’s own knowledge base doesn’t help in getting the hotfix (unless you are willing to pay $99). I pulled my hair out for two weeks trying to fix this. Google searches didn’t seem to help much until I ran across this post by Visoft Inc. Headache gone.

Apparently when running 64 bit version of SQL Server Express 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1 this becomes a common error. Why this hotfix isn’t applied to the primary download, I don’t know.

So after much torment, this is another problem solved. Now I can begin learning!

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