Installing SQL Server

 Product(s):Promis.e, Bentley Substation
 Version(s):08.11.07.xx through
 Area:Database Platform Support


Promis.e and Bentley Substation require a connection to a SQL database to store project data. While other database software is compatible, the scope of this document is limited to installing SQL Server 2008 Express for use with Promis.e or Bentley Substation. This document may be helpful for installing other versions or editions of SQL Server.

SQL Server Express is free.  Although it has limitations when compared to higher editions, SQL Server Express is adequate for single-user environments or environments with a few users. Descriptions and screen shots in this document would apply to other editions of SQL Server for the most part, with some variation.  Typically, installation of higher level editions would be handled by a knowledgeable database administrator.

Note: This TechNote is normally not needed by users of Promis.e and recent versions of Bentley Substation since the installation files for that software include an option to install SQL Server Express.  For example, the following dialog is presented after running C:\BentleyDownloads\Substation_08.11.13.140\setup.exe

When installed from this dialog or by running LaunchSQLExpress.exe from the C:\BentleyDownloads\[Product]\SQL_Server folder, the SQL Server installation wizard is automatically configured with certain preferred parameters. The parameters include the BENTLEYECAD instance name. Unless there is a need (see above limitations of Express) to install a non-Express edition of SQL Server, users should consider using the Promis.e/Substation installation file to install SQL Server Express instead of downloading it from Microsoft.

Throughout this document, when a specific configuration setting is not mentioned, the default value is typically appropriate. Dialogs presented may differ slightly from those show in this article. 

Steps to Accomplish

The installation program for SQL Server should be executed on the machine that is to be the server.  This machine can be a network server or the workstation, but should meet the system requirements for SQL Server.  Installing SQL Server on a workstation is typical in single user environments or when the machine will not always be connected to the network SQL server.

Downloading SQL Server Installation File

Skip this download step if installing SQL Server Express from the Promis.e or Bentley Substation installation dialog.

Consult the compatibility chart to determine which versions of SQL Server are compatible with the Bentley software and choose one also compatible with the operating system.

[[Compatibility Chart - promis.e]]

[[Compatibility Chart - Bentley Substation]]

Perform an internet search to find the download.  For example search "download sql server 2014 express"

Choose the installation file appropriate for the operating system (32-bit or 64-bit).  Choose an installation file that includes "WT" for "with tools" in the file name so that SQL Server Management Studio will be included.  For example, SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU.exe is the installation file for SQL Server Express (EXPR) with tools (WT) for 32-bit (x86) operating systems.

Save the file instead of running it directly, because it may need to be run more than once.

Run the Installation file

After the download is complete, run the downloaded file (press the Windows key + R, then browse to the downloaded file).  A security warning may be displayed; elect to continue running the installation program.

Depending on the system, the installation program may indicate that some required programs are not installed and may include links to download the programs.  Download the indicated programs and install them, then run the SQL Server installation file again. 

SQL Server Installation Center

Readers of this article will most likely not have SQL Server previously installed and should therefore select "New Installation or add features to an existing installation". This is also the appropriate choice in cases where SQL Server was installed for a different software and a "BENTLEYECAD" instance needs to be added for use with Promis.e/Bentley Substation.

License Terms

The "I accept the license terms" check box must be enabled to proceed.

Setup Support Rules

The installation wizard might automatically move past this step if there are no warnings or failures.  If there are any failures, they must be corrected before setup will continue.  Click the links in the Status column to see details.

A common warning about the firewall is:

As noted in the message, see the address given for information about configuring the Windows Firewall to allow SQL Server access.

After correcting the failures, click the Re-run button.

Feature Selection

Elect to install "Database Engine Services". Install "Management Tools" to install SQL Server Management Studio and the SQLCMD command-line utility.

Note: If an option to install "Management Tools" is not present, the installation file that was downloaded was not a "with tools" type (see the Downloading section above).  This is the case with SQL Server 2014 provided with the most recent versions of Promis.e and Bentley Substation (see [[Install SQL Server Management Studio]]).

Instance Configuration

The default instance name is "SQLExpress", but it can changed.  For example, Promis.e V8i has historically used an instance name of "BENTLEYECAD".

Important: Make a note of the value you specify for "Named instance" as it will be needed when creating the database and configuring Promis.e or Bentley Substation.  Also note the "SQL Server directory" path listed so the appropriate data file path can be specified when creating the project database.

Server Configuration

Service Accounts tab

If installing SQL Server on a machine to which other workstations will be connecting to, set the SQL Server Browser  service to "Automatic" for the Startup Type.

Collation tab

SQL Server setup will likely choose an appropriate collation.  There are known issues with case-sensitive collations, however, so be sure a case-insensitive (CI) collation is specified.

Database Engine Configuration

This step determines how users (via Promis.e, Bentley Substation, or otherwise) will be able to connect to the SQL Server.

Set Authentication Mode to "Mixed Mode" so that a single SQL Server login can be used by all Promis.e or Substation users to connect.  Otherwise, each user's Windows login will have to be added using SQL Server management software so they can use Windows authentication.

Important: The SA password is specified on this step.  Make note of the password you specify as it may be needed when creating the project database.  Microsoft recommends using a strong password for the SA login as it is "a well-known SQL Server account and it is often targeted by malicious users."

Other administrators can also be added in this step.

Error Reporting

On the Error Reporting step, choose whether or not to send error reports to Microsoft.  This option does not affect the operation of the software.


If the installation is successful, a confirmation will be displayed.

Next Step

[[Creating and Updating the Project Database|Create the Project Database]]

External Links

How to: Install SQL Server:

SQL Server Browser Service:

 Original Author:Matt_P