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I finally got my hands on a copy of SQL Server 2008 R2 Developer Edition. I have installed an instance on my server at home. I wanted to get all the Management Tools (SSMS, Profiler, etc.) on my laptop so I removed my copy of SQL Server Express. Then I installed the Management Tools (Complete) on my laptop. It's great, I can hit the instance and everything.

But for the times when I'm away from my local network and not able to connect to my server's instance, what is recommended? Should I reinstall an install of SQL Server Express just for testing purposes?

I guess what my question is, is SQL Server Express less taxing on my laptop than if I was to install a full version instance? Or is it equivalent to installing my Developer Edition?

I could always install the Developer Edition (Enterprise) on my laptop and have the SQL Server services start manually so I'm not hogging resources when I am connected to my local network (and server that houses my active instance).

What is advisable here?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

First impression I have, if you're needing your laptop for testing code you're running against a full version of SQL 2008, you'd want your laptop running a full version of SQL 2008.

You hit the nail on the head with setting the services to start manually. You could then have a simple .bat file to start and stop the SQL services when needed. This is exactly what I do on my home PC when needing to play with some databases.

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Exactly what I do too. 3 instances on my laptop currently, runas batch files to start them as needed with services set to manual start (runas required as run non-admin). –  Mark Storey-Smith Nov 12 '11 at 15:42
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SQL Server developer edition is pretty cheap (and comes with Visual Studio Pro and up anyway) and is intended that you can install it on a desktop PC. It's essentially the same software as SQL Server Enterprise edition, so it comes with all the tools, and even SSAS.

I've done this on many occasions, even to the extent of building some big HP workstations with fast SCSI disks to develop ETL processes on. Absolutely you can install it on your laptop.

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