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How to install Visual Studio 2015 Community and SQL Server 2016 Developer
This short blog summarises how to get legitimate free copies of Visual Studio 2015 and SQL Server 2016 Developer installed on your laptop or computer.

This is part of a wide-ranging blog explaining the new features in every part of SQL Server 2016.

Posted by Andy Brown on 11 July 2016

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Visual Studio 2015 and SQL Server 2016 (free installation)

This is a guide to how to install on your computer:

  • Visual Studio 2015 Community edition; and
  • SQL Server 2016 Developer edition with associated tools

Simply follow the steps below in the order given!

The relevant software licences will only cover you for internal development and training purposes (ideal for software training companies!).

Visual Studio 2015 Community edition

To start, download Visual Studio 2015 Community.  Quoting the website:

Visual Studio Community is free for individual developers, open source projects, academic research, education, and small professional teams.

This should install Visual Studio on your computer; the next thing is to sign up to Visual Studio benefits.

Visual Studio Dev Essentials

To get a free download for SQL Server Developer, you need to sign up to Visual Studio benefits.

If you or your company has an MSDN account you can use this instead, and bypass this step.

To sign up to Visual Studio Benefits:

Visual Studio benefits

Click on the button to join the benefits program, which gives you access to a free download of SQL Server 2016 Developer edition.

If you have a Microsoft account already, you should be able to sign in using this:

Microsoft sign-in

Type in your usual email address and password.

Otherwise, you'll need to create an account.

Downloading and installing SQL Server 2016 Developer

When you've signed in, you can download SQL Server 2016:

Download developer edition

This benefit is worth having (bottom right-hand tile above).

You can now proceed with installing SQL Server on your computer:

Installing SQL Server

Follow through the steps for installing SQL Server.

I found that this installed only the server engine; I still had to download SQL Server Data Tools (to get Integration, Reporting and Analysis Services) and SQL Server Management Studio, as below.

Installing Management Studio

When you've installed the database engine, as above, you now need to install Management Studio:

Installing SSMS

Re-run the installation program, and this time choose to install Management Studio.

You should now be able to run Management Studio:

Management Studio

The familiar user interface for SQL Server Management Studio (well, familiar to me), giving you the ability to work with SQL Server databases.


Once you've got Management Studio installed, you might like to consider attending our Introduction to SQL or Advanced SQL courses, or look at our many other SQL training resources.

Installing SSRS, SSIS, SSAS (SQL Server Data Tools)

Finally, you need to install the client tools which allow you to create reports, cubes, tabular models and packages!  Re-run the installer a third time, and this time choose Data Tools:

SQL Server Data Tools

Choose to install SQL Server Data Tools.

When this has finished installing, go into Visual Studio 2015 (which you installed at the start of this process) and press SHIFT + CTRL + N to create a new project.  You should see this:

Visual Studio project templates

You can choose to create one of the SQL Server BI projects listed.


Note that if you want to work with multi-dimensional and tabular projects in Analysis Services, you will have to run the base SQL Server installation program a second time to install a separate instance of Analysis Services.

I hope you find this process as painless as I did! 

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