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File sharing on Windows XP has a 5 client limitation. Our solution uses both file sharing and SQL Express.

The way I see it, we have 2 options here:

-Reload the machine that they want to use as a server with Windows Server, or;

-Supply them with a dedicated NAS server, and keep their server machine on Windows XP

The second option is the preferred one, for reasons I'm not going to go into. I just need to confirm that the 5 client limitation applies to the file sharing only.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Looking at this feature comparison chart, it seems there is no limit on the number of connections. The big differences seem to be CPU, RAM, and database size limitations.


While there is nothing in the SQL Server Express docs about Windows connection limits, I did find this MS KB article, Inbound connections limit in Windows XP. It appears that Windows XP Professional has a 10-connection limit, and Windows XP Home has a 5-connection limit.

Note For Windows XP Professional, the maximum number of other computers that are permitted to simultaneously connect over the network is ten. This limit includes all transports and resource sharing protocols combined. For Windows XP Home Edition, the maximum number of other computers that are permitted to simultaneously connect over the network is five. This limit is the number of simultaneous sessions from other computers the system is permitted to host. This limit does not apply to the use of administrative tools that attach from a remote computer.

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What I'm worried about is whether the OS would restrict more than 5 connections. I'm quite confident that SQL would allow it, but will Windows? – RichieACC Feb 9 '11 at 14:12
I don't see anything in the documentation to indicate that Windows will limit the SQL Express connections. Can you setup a test machine and try it out? – aphoria Feb 9 '11 at 14:20

If you run it on XP, then it is limited. I don't know if the limit is enforced, but if you pass it it you are still in violation of XP's license agreement. If you have multiple users connecting to your server, you really should run it on a server operating system. Windows Server 2008 R2 is current, but SQL Server Express should work down to Server 2003.

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I know it's been "answered" for a while but for the reference of others who may happen upon this question, there is no and has never been a CONNECTION limit to MSDE/SQL Express.

There is a workload governer in MSDE 1.0 and MSDE 2000 that would cause things to slow down if more than 5 (and subsequently 8 in 2000) operations were occurring at once, but that was dropped in SQL Express 2005 and later.

For reference, see:

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