I come from a linux/apache/php/mysql background. For my current project, I am forced to write web services using ASP.NET. I have installed visual studio and created an ASP.NET web service project. The web service I'm creating will use a SQL database backend. I see that visual studio installed "SQL Server Express 2008." I can see that there is a service called "SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS)" that is running. My question is, how do I run queries against this database? Where's the front end? What tool do I use to create databases and tables? Is there something else I have to install?

I feel completely lost and my google-fu fails me. There are so many different SQL products from microsoft that I can't tell what is the easiest path to just having a simple database with tables I can query from my development machine. With MySQL, I would install the MySQL database, download MySQL query browser and start firing queries at it. How can I do that with Visual Studio/SQL Server Express?

2 Answers 2


Go to


and download the "Management tools".

This will give you a full blown management studio in which you can create tables, fire queries, ...

Alternatively, you should also be able to access the database and perform management functions right from Visual Studio. In the "Server Explorer" pane (Ctrl+Alt+S) right click "Data Connections" and click "Add Connection" should get you started.


Probably a better question for StackOverflow, but this article walks you through the process: http://www.asp.net/learn/data-access/tutorial-01-cs.aspx

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