How to install SQL Server 2008 Management Studio

I have a distinct feeling of déjà vu. However, I know I’m not dreaming because I’ve written about installing SQL Server Management Studio before, but last time it was for SQL Server 2005. Why oh why is it so complicated to install this piece of software!?

This time I installed Visual Studio 2010 first, which in turn installed SQL Server 2008 Express. Of course I needed SQL Server Management Studio though, so I downloaded it from Microsoft and tried to install it. And of course, when I went through the installation wizard, the option to install Management Studio didn’t seem to be there. That’s when I start bashing my head against the keyboard and asking ‘why does this have to be so hard!’...

Anyway, after a little investigation and persistence, I figured it all out. I even managed to grab some screenshots so that I would NEVER forget how to do this ever again… and hopefully it will once again help others who may be having the same problems.

  1. Install Service Pack 1 for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – you need Service Pack 1 or else you won’t even be shown the option to install Management Studio.
  2. Run the SQL Server Management Studio installer.
  3. Click on ‘Installation’ in the left menu.
  4. Click on ‘New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation’.
  5. It will ask you to install ‘Setup Support files’ -yup, you have to install this in order to install other features, so go ahead and install it.
    Setup Support Files
  6. Once it has finished installing the ‘Setup Support files’, the wizard should move you onto ‘Installation Type’. As counter-intuitive as it seems, choose the ‘Perform a new installation of SQL Server 2008’ option and click next.
    Installation Type
  7. Now the wizard asks you to specify the edition of SQL Server 2008 to install. You’ll notice that both options given are greyed out – that’s what you want to see. Click next…
    SQL Server 2008 Edition
  8. ‘Feature Selection’ – brilliant. This is what you were aiming for. Here you should see a couple of different features that you can install, namely, ‘Management Tools – Basic’. Make sure it is checked then click next.
    Feature Selection
  9. Proceed through the next few dialogs, each of which ask you the standard installation questions like installation location, and sooner or later, you should see a nice screen telling you that it has successfully installed ‘Management Tools – Basic’. Success!!
    Management Tools
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121 thoughts on “How to install SQL Server 2008 Management Studio

  1. Thank you so much, Annie. I thought I was going mad, just couldn’t work out where I was going wrong and turned to Google, in desperation. I struck gold with this little gem of a post on my first hit! Thank you so much.

  2. Hi Annie!!
    Can u tell me which SQLManagementStudio2008 should I download for 32-bit system with windows7 os ??
    Either “SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe”
    or “SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe”

  3. Annie one thing I can’t figure out on your instruction is how would you install service pack 1 if you don’t have the application installed yet. I get the problem like you said that SSMS is not an option to install and I have the service pack one downloaded but don’t I have to install first to apply service pack1? Right now I setup from disc and there is no SSMS option.

    • @Tito:

      I’m sorry Annie I figured it out. I do have that option by the sequence and menus were slightly different than the screen shots above. Not sure I can explain why but I have it installed now and I applied SP1 updates.

      • Annie,

        I followed the steps and now I can see the option “Baisc Tools’ infact I hade SQL Express x86 instance on 64 bit OS and was running SQL Managemnet studio x86 setup file which was not showing me the options.I tested 64 bit exe and it resolved my issue.

  4. Hi Annie,
    After I get it all installed, I run it and the Connect to Server box comes up, the login information is greyed out. Can this be changed?

    • Hi Stanley,

      Do you see the ‘Authentication’ drop down? If it’s set to Windows Authentication, it will grey out the username and password fields. If you change this to SQL Server Authentication, it will enable the login and password fields. Is this what you mean?

  5. Thanks…
    I think this actually makes Microsoft-sense…
    You need the VS2008 SP1 because SQL Server 2008 probably uses common 2008 things (yes, I too am running C#2010)
    And the “new instance” requirement is probably because Management Studio is meant to be part of Enterprise SQL Server, not Express. Ie, when installing components of EXPRESS, it checks what are available and allows you to select those you didn’t install the first time.
    Going through NEW means that it looks at the possible options (which now include SQL Server Management Studio).
    If you notice, installing Management Studio also installed a lot of things that you cannot use on Express.

  6. Annie,
    when I Clicked on ‘New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation’, the wizard asked me to browse for sql server 2008 installation media.
    In which folder is this? I’ve looked but I can’t find it.



  7. So glad I found your site. I am a desktop / network support guy not a programmer, but was helping out on a rare Saturday shift. The install of management studio was totally contrary to what common sense would suggest. Kudos to you Annie.

  8. Hi Annie,

    The screenshots really helped me..i was searching for the management studio icon from last two days..

    Thanks alot

  9. Hi Annie,

    I am using your instructions to add the Management Studio to an existing Visual Studio install(Web Developer Express 2010). I get to the “Installation Rules” page and get flagged on “SQL Server 2005 Express Tools” I click on the “Failed” status and it tells me to remove this first before continuing. Question, where do I uninstall this at? I went to Control Panel Add Remove and SQL Server 2005 Express Tools was not in the list, I then search c:\ and don’t see any reference for 2005 Express Tools either. This is the main reason I have been an open source developer for the past 15 years, the frustration, aggravation, and waste of time trying to setup and config MS software. I appreciate your response in advance and Thank You for sharing. It’s times like these I’d rather be a Used Car Salesman than have to deal with the MS non-sense.


    • @Frank:

      Hi Annie,

      Late breaking update !! After not finding the sql server 2005 express tools anywhere I went into the Registry and decided to operate. I removed the KEY referencing the issue and from there the installation went like silk! SUCCESS
      I removed the registry key at: \SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90 and I now have my environment setup !

      Thanks Again without you I would not have gotten this far :):):)


  10. Hi Annie,

    Would you happen to know how to configure Report Builder 3.0 on a local machine with my existing SQL SERVER 2008 R2 and SSMS install. Keep getting “Invalid Namespace” when I try to connect. The name of my local machine appears in the Server box.


  11. Ta muchly!
    Had the imposition of getting a new laptop forced upon me at work and was struggling to remember how to get this to install :)

  12. when i am installing sql server management , after installing the select features was empty and there is no selective thing….. plx guide what is the error

  13. Brilliant! Unfortunately MS doesn’t help a lot with just getting the mgmt studio loaded and after 2 hours of futzing with it I came up with this page….who would’ve thought to “install a new instance” on the git.


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    Thank you for these instructions. I have been trying to install SSMS 2008 only for awhile, and I believed that I had downloaded the wrong file.

  15. You are so helpful with the guides. You definitely save the day for many of us here! BTW, it works like charm :)
    thank you so much!

  16. Thanks for your wonderful effort! Sadly I was pointed here by a manufacturer since there own support documentation wasn’t as good.

  17. Hey, Thanks a bunch! This was exactly what I needed. I’m embarrised that as a practicing DBA I couldn’t figure this out on my own. But as you said, Microsoft is obfuscating for some reason ;)

    Thanks again.

  18. Annie – you rock! I used your procedure a few years ago and I’m embarassed to say I had to use it again recently (new PC). Thankfully you left this post up. Thank you twice!

  19. I found a couple of people asking the same question on Microsoft support sites, but for some reason Microsoft staff could not grasp what was being asked.

    Thankfully I found your site to point the right path!

  20. Hi Management Studio is included in the 2008 R2 version with Tools (SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU). So no problkem with the installation:)

  21. Thank you,
    and yes, I don’t know why MS does it so unintuitive. We are not trying to install a new server, just GUI.

  22. Thank you for posting, I love step by steps like this for installs that I don’t do often enough to remember! You’re the bomb.

    The Basic Mgmt Tools option was missing on feature selection for me, even though I have SQL Express 2008 R2 SP2. However once I enabled Named Pipes and TCPIP in configuration manager, then I had the option. Think it was related?

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