SQL SERVER – Difference Between SQL Server Compact Edition (CE) and SQL Server Express Edition

I often received question regarding what are difference between SQL Server Compact Edition (CE) and SQL Server Express Edition. In one line – SQL Server CE is for mobile application and embaded systems where as SQL Server Express Edition is limited feature light version of SQL Server Standard.

SQL Server Compact Edition SQL Server Express Edition
ClickOnce Deployment ClickOnce Deployment
Installed centrally with an MSI Installed centrally with an MSI
XML storage XML storage
Transact-SQL Transact-SQL
Subscriber for merge replication Subscriber for merge replication
Simple transactions Simple transactions
Database size support – 4GB Database size support – 4GB
Number of concurrent connections – 256 Number of concurrent connections – Unlimited
Privately installed, embedded, with the application
Non-admin installation option
Runs on Windows Mobile platform
Runs in-process with application
Data file storage on a network share
Support for different file extensions
Code free, document safe, file format
Remote Data Access (RDA)
ADO.NET Sync Framework
Subscriber for merge replication
Simple transactions
Runs as a service
Procedural T-SQL
Distributed transactions
Native XML, XQuery/QPath
Stored procedures, views, triggers
Role-based security

I am interested to know if my readers have used any of these servers what was the real life application for the same.

Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

Source : http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2009/04/22/sql-server-difference-between-sql-server-compact-edition-ce-and-sql-server-express-edition

12 thoughts on “SQL SERVER – Difference Between SQL Server Compact Edition (CE) and SQL Server Express Edition

  1. We use SQL Server Express for as the database for our distributed logistics software. Since we do our work on a contract basis, you can’t beat it in terms of lowering our overall fee (no licensing) and security.


  2. I’ve used SQL Compact for a couple projects so far. I love it for desktop apps (with no server component) because it is so simple to deploy. I’ve also used it in conjunction with Sync for ADO.NET to develop an “occasionally connected” application. It and the sync framework work really well.

    One thing to be aware of is that SQL Compact only supports a subset of SQL Server data types and there is little in the way of programmability – that is, no stored procedures, udfs or triggers.


  3. I want to use SQL Server Compact Edition for windows mobile 6.0.

    Can you please tell me it is free of cost like access databsase or i have to purchase licence of it?


  4. Pingback: SQL SERVER – Download Microsoft SQL Server Compact 4.0 SP1 « SQL Server Journey with SQL Authority

    • sql campact server is running in any version SQL Server Compact Edition?

      thanks for your guide .
      is there any version problem?
      when i was deploy .mdf file it’s not work in many computer.it’s make a message like that “sql server version 612 support 650 upper ”

      please can you tell me is support any version of sql server 2005 or 2008.


  5. i’m working on windows app which is a paper setter desktop app, which set an exam paper sets
    but i’m thinking about which is good to use 1.sql express 2. sql CE?
    please giude me .
    i have already gone through both procs and cons still not making up my decision please guide.


  6. I experienced that SQLCE is very slow. I am using Asp.NET Entity Framework when I was using Sql Express my test cases were passing within 5 mins. I just switched to SQL CE and my same test cases are taking 10 Mins.


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