i'm reading on Microsoft's site that SQL Server 2005 Express Edition has Profiler:

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Local and Relational Servers only.

(i'm not sure what a non-relational SQL Server is, but whatever)

It says it's there, where is it?

In SQL Server 7, SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008, i would go to the Tools menu:

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But in SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, Microsoft decided to hide it:

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Express only gives you the option of running server side traces for profiling, but I don't think it gives you free access to the SSMS tool?

Nonetheless, there is a perfectly good open source version of the profiler tool that should work with your express edition.


  • A third-party workaround is nice. i was actually hoping to understand Microsoft's documentation
    – Ian Boyd
    Jul 7 '10 at 16:05
  • This doesn't seem to be free anymore. Link takes me to datawizard.com with no option to download (or even buy!).
    – ScottJ
    Dec 12 '15 at 20:24

Remember that you're dealing with SQL Server Management Studio Express, which does not assume you have a copy of the rest of the SQL Server client tools installed.

Since this is SQL Server 2005, do a search for Profiler90.exe. That's the executable for Profiler. It is normally installed under C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\Binn.

  • C:\>dir profiler*.* /s --> File Not Found Damn, and it seems like such a plausible answer!
    – Ian Boyd
    Jul 7 '10 at 16:03
  • Then it's not packaged with Express, only with the full client tools, unfortunately. SQLCMD and osql are packaged with SQL Express, probably because they are command line. Profiler obviously isn't. You can still use Profiler from a machine that has it installed, so long as you can connect to the database engine remotely. Jul 7 '10 at 16:06
  • There is a way to do it command line. I wrote a blog article about it once: thegreenoak.blogspot.com/2009/04/…
    – djangofan
    Mar 13 '12 at 0:29

To quote MSDN:

"Microsoft SQL Server Profiler is a graphical user interface to SQL Trace."

In other words, if you are willing to write a very small amount of code, you can run own your traces very easily.

  • Can you link that quote?
    – Ian Boyd
    Jul 7 '10 at 16:06
  • Actually, it's a bit more than that... the quote is partially misleading. Server side traces tend to be less resource intensive because you're not fighting network traffic, etc. Jul 7 '10 at 16:07

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