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I have just installed Microsoft SQL Express from here:

I need it because an example of some code I have uses it.

How do I start using it? Which port does it open by default? All I have after installing it is this:

alt text

I'm not asking for a full tutorial on how to admin MSSQL, just a hint on what to do next.

I have downloaded and tested in the past Oracle XE and test it with SQuirreL SQL client with out problems.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I find the easiest way to interact with SQL Server Express is to download the SQL Server Management Studio Express. This tool will let you connect to SQL Server instances and manipulate the tables in any way you like using the GUI. You can also run scripts against the databases. Its a very useful database development tool.

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Correct. This tool is not included in the default SQL Server Express 2005 installation (to minimise download size, I suspect). You will need to download and install it seperately. Actually I just noticed - there's a link to it in the background window of your screenshot up the top! – Mark Henderson Mar 10 '10 at 3:11
Thanks for the help. It is very frustrating to install this software and then stare at your screen thingking "NOW WHAT?!!!" @Ferseeker: lol :) :) Isn't it funny how things are very easy to spot when you now what to look at? :) :) After reading @heavyd answer I went like "Doh... that's the link" and your comment makes totally sense. This just shows how bad some pages are designed :) – OscarRyz Mar 12 '10 at 16:05

After it's installed, it runs automatically, you don't have to start it. By default, there's no open port, just a named pipe. The default named pipe for SQL Express is \.\sqlexpress (I know this looks like a UNC, it's not, don't try).

There's quite a few ways for code to connect to it. A common way is the MSSQL ODBC Connector, where you might have to change the Instance Name (Full SQL server installs to the "default" instance, where express installs to a named instance).

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The named pipe can also be seen like this: machineName\sqlexpress – Chris Mar 10 '10 at 3:14

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