I'm installing SQL Server Developer Edition (2019) on my desktop, and I'm trying to get everything right the first time on my installation.

On the feature selection page, I don't know what a few of these mean.

Specifically: "Client Tools Connectivity". The description is not incredibly helpful: "Includes components for communication between clients and servers." - what kind of components and what kind of communication? Is this needed or useful at all if I'm only using the instance locally? I'm not finding any help in the documentation or web searches.

So can you either help me understand what this option is, or point me to a more detailed document that actually says what each option does?

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    There are a bunch of options like this, like "Data Quality Client", described as "Includes Data quality client objects.", and "Client Tools Backwards Compatibility", which is described as "Client Tools Backwards Compatibility". You'd think they would put a few minutes into two or three sentences each that tell you what it is.
    – Joe Enos
    Jun 25, 2021 at 16:10
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    I don't think there is any harm in just installing everything to begin with, honestly. Jun 25, 2021 at 16:55
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    I would argue for the opposite @LowlyDBA-JohnM. Most people only need the Database Engine & nothing else. Installing extra software just means there are more unused bits that need to be patched for security & stability.
    – AMtwo
    Jun 25, 2021 at 19:39
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    On a server, yes. On a desktop, eh you end up with a bunch of unneeded trash from SQL Server on there either way :) Jun 25, 2021 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


here is a good starting point.


The appropriate features to install depend on your needs. There is no good or bad starting list. Assuming that you need to install the relational database engine, try starting with SQL Server Database Engine.

You can always add new features afterwards.

  • Thanks for that link - I found something similar, but this one definitely gives more details. From what I'm reading, it looks like the "Client Tools" are just what they sound like, installed on the client machine, and giving a client application the ability to connect to the database server, OleDb and ODBC I think. I've always used .NET which works with SQL Server out of the box, so maybe this makes more sense in other frameworks.
    – Joe Enos
    Jun 25, 2021 at 23:13

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