Sample Databases in SQL Server 2005

SQL Server 2005 doesn't include the classic Pubs and Northwind databases. You can, however, download them from Microsoft. You'll get both binary database images (*.mdf and *.ldf) as well as SQL scripts.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Sorry to butt in, Jeff, but I think it is excellent that the sample databases, including AdventureWorks, are not installed now by default.
The samples pop up a lot even on our Production servers and having them not available will stop this happening.

I agree, but that’s probably not a good default for the “Developer” or “Express” editions of SQL Server 2005…

Obviously we refer to “standard” sample databases a lot in the docs (at such times as we have to be specific). Pubs is out; for the time being (ASP.NET 2.0), we were pretty much stuck with Northwind. It’s fine for illustrating most things, but I was brought up short one day when I was doing up some sample or other involving data binding the Hyperlink control and realized that there are no URLs in Northwind. Well, if that didn’t say a little something about its age …

Oh, and I’m ambivalent about including sample databases with Express stuff. Web Matrix used MSDE, which has no samples, and I never heard anyone complain. It was more interesting (and useful) to have people create their own database, actually. Just a thought.

very good information.

I’m in a problem using Webmatrix and MSDE. MSDE do not provide Northwind database with it…I’ ve download Northwind.mdf and Northwind.ldf.But how will i configure it with MSDE+ Web matrix…Any one can provide me information

I prefer a prompt so I can decide, not Microsoft, regardless of what edition.

Northwind and Pubs should be on the sql 2005 disk

thanks, i was looking for this information

I can’t attach the DB. Ran through the install process but AW didn’t show up in the databases collection as I’d expected. Went through Attach… process but it wasn’t in default location. Did file search and found TWO copies of the AW.mdf file. Both fail on attachment with following error:

Is it possible that my SQL Server Management Studio is managing an SQL Server 2000 service? Next to the registered server in object explorer it lists the server name then “(SQL Server 8.0.760…)”

If this is the problem I can find no place where I can start or manage SQL Server 2005. Did I screw up the setup?

Sorry all for the three posts but thought I’d finish up with results. It turns out that I had not, in fact, installed SQL Server 2005 DB Services. I also have SQL 2K and missed a check box somewhere, I guess. I redid the setup and this time the DB Svcs installed and I can access AW with no problem (after attaching).

I’m upgrading my instructional materials for 2005 and it is a nightmare when the professor can’t even get it to work.

I just had to install Northwind because some sample code I found required it. Microsoft should stop writing documentation that reference a database they no longer include with the product.

thanks dude, its valuable info.


I have the same problem as you had to install AdventureWork database but I don’t know what do you mean “installed SQL Server 2005 DB Services”.
I wonder if you could be more specific about how to fix the problem.

I appreciate your help.


Thank you for this quick help. It certainly helped me to quickly install Northwind. I can now easily connect to it inside Server Exploer in VS2005.

Thank you for the info. Helped very much.

FYI, the SQL Server sample databases have recently been moved to


Your posting is very helpfull to find and install the sample databases on to a SQL Express 2005.

thank you

Really good info…it helped a lot to solve my problem