We need to equip a Windows XP notebook with an SQL Server database (for local use only). SQL Server Express would be great, but the database is larger than 4GB. What's the best (and/or cheapest) way to solve this? Express features are enough, it's just the 4GB limit that's making trouble.

We were thinking about SQL Server Workgroup, but that seems to be only available with 5 CALs, which is really not necessary...

Clarification: What I'm really looking for is the recommended upgrade path for the single-workstation-with-SQL-Server-Express scenario. Everything was working fine when the DB was slightly below 4GB. Now it is slightly above 4GB and we need to replace SQL Server Express with something without the limit.


Best - ensure you have at least 6-8GB of memory and replace XP with Server 2008 R2 64-bit and SQL 2008 64-bit. Cheapest - do nothing.

You'll see that there's a difference between best and cheapest.

You don't mention how much memory you have, it's very important for us to know this.

  • Install Server 2008 R2 on a notebook? Are you serious? Do nothing is not really an option, since you cannot use a >4GB database on SQL Server Express.
    – Heinzi
    Feb 8 '10 at 14:18
  • Memory is sufficient at the moment (i.e. everything worked fine as long as the database size was slightly below 4GB. Now it's slightly above 4GB...)
    – Heinzi
    Feb 8 '10 at 14:19
  • I'd be more skeptical of trying to get a database to run well on a notebook than just running 2008. Feb 8 '10 at 14:32
  • @Kara: That's not the problem. It's nothing that requires lots of CPU, it's just a huge amount of data. As I said, everything works quite fine with slightly less than 4GB DB size.
    – Heinzi
    Feb 8 '10 at 14:34
  • 1
    you asked for 'best', and if you're tied to MSSQL then Server 2K8 with SQL 2K8 is the best solution - I was simply pointing out that asking for best isn't really what you're after. Oh and we have demo (not production) laptops running W2K8/SQL2K8 just fine (they have quad-core, 8GB, 7200rpm disk).
    – Chopper3
    Feb 8 '10 at 14:48

Since this sounds like a development scenario, get SQL Server Developer Edition. It's only about $45 from Newegg. Just check the licensing on the Microsoft site to be sure you are following the requirements for use. It does everything that SQL Enterprise will do, but again, only for development purposes.



  • By the way, I have two instances of SQL Developer Edition running on my Lenovo T500 and it runs fine without a problem and I do quite a bit with it, even down to testing database mirroring between instances with client databases and scripts I wrote that do random inserts.
    – tcnolan
    Feb 10 '10 at 23:55
  • Oh... I am running Windows 7 x64 on this Laptop, but I have another running 2008 R2... I just don't get all the "fun" client applications IBM writes for utilities.
    – tcnolan
    Feb 10 '10 at 23:57
  • Thanks for the hint. Unfortunately, it's a customer (production) machine, so Developer Edition is not an option.
    – Heinzi
    Feb 11 '10 at 11:53

I just phoned Microsoft and they confirmed that "SQL Server Workgroup Editions + 5 CALs" is the cheapest option to get rid of the 4GB limit.

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