LocalDb – SQL Express for Developers


When you install Visual Studio 2012 or higher the Sql Server Express component is also installed on your machine. When you add a connection to a database within VS I normally use .\SQLEXPRESS as the server name.


The .\SQLEXPRESS server name is totally fine and it will work. But I noticed that, like when you create a new ASP.Net MVC project, the default connection to the database is pointing to a LocalDb. I do not remember installing any LocalDb server.

New Asp.Net MVC Project

LocalDB Config

Nothing in my local machine services is running as LocalDb.

SQL Express Service

What is LocalDb vs Sql Server Express?

Based on this blog from MSDN SQL Server team, SQL Server Express is still a free version of the SQL Server. However, they decided to release LocalDb as a SQL Express edition for developers that will continue to be small, low footprint and easily configurable with no admin access required.


One advantage I can see from using LocalDb is that you can still attach a file database using AttachDbFileName even if the connection is living within the same instance of the sqlservr.exe.

AttachDbFileName feature is a plus for developers who can request for a sample data in a file and use it to attach to the LocalDb just like you are connected to a full version of SQL Server.

As a personal note to myself, I should blog a lot more so expect more blog posts to come from me 🙂

Visual Studio 2012 Custom Installation Option Missing



I have installed Visual Studio 2012 several times in the past, its just now that I want do custom installation. Thank you to the limited space of an SSD drive, I need to keep the Visual Studio 2012 installation to a bare minimum. Just like past versions of  Visual Studio I can always just install what I want, right? Not with Visual Studio 2012.

Visual Studio Installer Feature Options

In Visual Studio 2012 installation, no option will let you pick only C# as the programming language, uncheck SQL Express or just proceed with complete installation. Every time it is complete installation.

Well not options were removed, you can choose if you want to install Blend for Visual Studio, Lightswitch and other features included in the installer.

Visual Studio Installation Size

My installation of Visual Studio 2012 took 5.24GB of space with Microsoft Office Developer Tools and Microsoft Web Developer Tools features selected.

This post of the Visual Studio team from Microsoft mentioned that they included the option for customisation but its not present with the installer I used. The installer was downloaded directly from the MSDN download site so I guess they remove the option again.

I’m happy with the improvement of Visual Studio 2012’s performance and features but giving me an option to just install what I want would not hurt. Not at all.