This article shows how to package and distribute MSDE for Visual Studio using the Package and Deployment Wizard (PDW) tool that ships with Visual Basic 6.0. There are two main steps to perform:
- Create a Standard Setup Package that redistributes necessary MSDE files to target machines along with your Visual Basic application. The MSDE files will be used on target machines to set up MSDE. This could be done in two ways with the PDW:
- MSDE manual setup
- MSDE automatic setup via a Window's Program group icon
- Use a custom database with MSDE on the target machine.
The following procedure assumes that you have downloaded the MSDE for Visual Studio redistribution package (Msdex86_pkg.exe) and have extracted the redistribution file (Msdex86.exe). The MSDE for Visual Studio CD also has the redistribution files in the MSDE folder.
Step 1: Create the Redistribution Package
In this approach, MSDE setup must be launched manually after redistributing MSDE files to the target machine. This can be accomplished
from either the MS-DOS command line or from the Start/Run menu.
- On the original development machine, start the Package and Deployment Wizard. Choose a Visual Basic project and click the Package icon.
- In the Package and Deployment Wizard - Package Type dialog box, click Standard Setup Package.
- Click Next; leave the default settings.
- Click Next. In the Package and Deployment Wizard - Included Files dialog box, click Add. Include the following files within the setup wizard:
- Any custom database (.mdf file) that needs to be used with MSDE on
the target machine
- Click Next. In the Package and Deployment Wizard - Cab Options dialog box, choose one of the following two options:
- Single Cab: This option is useful when distributing the
Package on a large media such as a CD-ROM. This option packages all of
the files into a single CAB file.
- Multiple Cab: This option is useful when distributing the
package on disks. Choosing this option packages the files into multiple
- Click Next. In the Package and Deployment Wizard - Installation Title dialog box, choose a setup screen title.
- Continue through the wizard, selecting the default settings, until you reach the Package and Deployment Wizard - Shared Files dialog box. In this dialog box, mark the components you want shared.
- Continue through the wizard; click Finish. The package is now complete and can be installed onto target machines.
- Run the setup program on the target machine.
- From the Start menu, point to Run (or from the MS-DOS command prompt), type the following, AppPath\msdex86.exe -s -a -f1 "AppPath\unattend.iss" where AppPath is the application directory specified by the user, or the default directory specified in the Setup section. This launches the MSDE setup program.
Automatic Setup via Window's Program Group
This allows the creation of a program group that appears under the Start/Programs menu on Window's desktop. Once clicked, this program group automatically launches the MSDE setup process on the target machine.
- On the original development machine, start the Package and Deployment Wizard and repeat steps 1 through 6 in the "Manual Setup" process above.
- In the Package and Deployment Wizard - Start Menu Items dialog box, click New Item. Then, do the following:
- In the Name box, type Start MSDE
- In the Target box, type the following:
msdex86.exe -s -a -f1 "$(AppPath)\unattend.iss"
- In the Start In box, leave the default macro:
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 above. The package is now complete and can be installed onto target machines.
Step 2: Using a Custom Database with MSDE
When MSDE setup is completed successfully on target machines, only the following databases will be available with MSDE:
Once you have redistributed the custom database (.mdf) file onto the target machine as shown in step 4 of the "Manual Setup" section above, you can then apply any of the following approaches:
- Run the stored procedure "sp_attach_db" to attach your database to MSDE as follows:
EXEC sp_attach_db @dbname = N'dbname', @filename = N'filepath\filename.mdf'
EXEC sp_attach_db 'Test', 'c:\Mssql7\Data\Test.mdf'
Use the Microsoft OLEDB Provider for SQL Server to attach the .mdf database file and connect to the database directly. In this case, the connection string should resemble the following:
"Provider = SQLOLEDB.1; User ID = your_user_id; Password = your_password;Initial Catalog = db_name; Data Source = server_name;
Initial File Name = db_file_path\db_file_name.mdf"
- Use the Microsoft OLEDB Provider for SQL Server to point to the local MSDE. In this case, the connection string should resemble the following:
"Provider = SQLOLEDB.1; User ID = your_user_id; Password = your_password;
Initial Catalog = db_name; Data Source = (local)"
- Use the Microsoft OLEDB Provider for ODBC drivers (MSDASQL) to connect to MSDE. You can create a DSN on each target machine or use a DSN-less connection
NOTE: The third and fourth approaches above require attaching the database prior to using the connection string(s).
- You can optionally use SQL-DMO to start MSDE, attach or/and detach your custom database to MSDE.
Resources for developers building applications with MSDE, including
whitepapers, general additional FAQS, and sample code can be found at:
For additional information on the process of installing a user-database on MSDE, click the article number below
to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
INF: Moving SQL Server Databases to a New Location
For additional information on automating the MSDE setup with the PDW, click the article number below
to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
SAMPLE: Setup1.exe Fully Automating MSDE Setup with the Package and Deployment Wizard (PDW)
For additional information on the Package and Deployment Wizard, please refer to the Visual Basic documentation.
Article ID: 231923 - Last Review: February 21, 2014 - Revision: 1.3
- Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic Enterprise Edition for Windows 6.0
- Microsoft Data Engine 1.0
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