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SQL Server to SQL Server Compact Edition Database Copy Utility

, 26 Jun 2008 BSD
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Create and manage your mobile database using SQL Management Studio and export them to SQL Compact Edition databases


Please download the latest version of this tool from I have updated this utility based on some feedback from users.

I added the ability to select the schema you wish to copy. For most databases, this will simply be "dbo".

I fixed a bug where the application did not recognize a valid version of "System.Data.SqlServerCe.dll".


This utility will copy the schema and data from a normal SQL Server 2000/2005 database and export it to a SQL Server Compact Edition database. The tool supports version 3.1 or 3.5 of SQL Server Compact Edition.


I was working on a mobile application and needed an easy way to manage the table relationships and indexes without having to resort to scripting. I was familiar with using SQL Server Management Studio so I decided that I would write a utility that converted a normal SQL Server database to a mobile database. This way, I could continue using the tool I normally use to create and maintain my databases.

Using the Code

Feel free to take a look at the code and offer your most gracious comments. The application uses a wizard to walk you through converting a database. I have also included a normal WINFORM that also does the conversion, but I stopped development on this in lieu of the wizard, so the form is incomplete. I will be maintaining this code and writing more about it on my blog at You can find the original post here.

Points of Interest

This utility will copy Indexes, Primary Keys, Foreign Keys, Table structure and data. SQL Server Compact Edition does not have support for Views, Triggers nor Stored Procedures, therefore this utility does not copy these.


  • 1.0 Initial release


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The BSD License


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior) Gologic Tech LLC.
United States United States
I work as an independent software architect and senior developer. I have worked on many large enterprise projects as well as small single user applications.

Comments and Discussions

Generalgetting error just-in-time (JIT) debugging instead of this dialog box Pinmemberpsnlakshmi30-Oct-10 1:40 
GeneralBad Image Format Exception Pinmemberi_lonsdale@hotmail.com15-Oct-10 22:43 
Generalproblem with varbinary Pinmemberpgarbo17-Aug-10 5:05 
GeneralThanks PinmemberUros Calakovic8-Aug-10 2:00 
QuestionException where Copying Database PinmemberEdgarVegaD14-Jan-10 4:36 
AnswerRe: Exception where Copying Database PinmemberEdgarVegaD14-Jan-10 8:14 
AnswerRe: Exception where Copying Database Pinmemberdille421-May-10 3:34 
GeneralGETUTCDATE() & Multi-Column Key's Pinmembermichael@merlot.com21-Nov-09 4:41 
Hi Johnny,
Nice tool you've created. It certainly fills the lack which MS leaves and avoids manual scripting.
I've noticed two things which caused minor problems: if a column in SQL Server has GETUTCDATE() as default value, there's an issue because CE does not have this function.
So I've solved this by adding the next line in WizardForm.cs - DoCopy():
                        if (col.DefaultConstraint != null && !String.IsNullOrEmpty(col.DefaultConstraint.Text))
                            // SQL Server CE 3.5 does not support function GETUTCDATE()
                            col.DefaultConstraint.Text = col.DefaultConstraint.Text.Replace("(getutcdate())", "(getdate())");
                            string def = col.DefaultConstraint.Text.Replace("((", "(").Replace("))", ")");
                            sb.Append(" DEFAULT ").Append(col.DefaultConstraint.Text);
                            //sb.Append(" DEFAULT (1) ");
The second thing I encountered is the script-creation for a ForeignKey on Multi-Column Key's.
Only the first referenced column was included and there was a problem with the square brackets.
                                    // Check If Multi-Column Key's => Iterate Keys
                                    string createFKSql = String.Empty;
                                    if (sourceDb.Tables[fk.ReferencedTable].Indexes[fk.ReferencedKey].IndexedColumns.Count == 1)
                                        // Single PK so use the original string
                                        createFKSql = String.Format(fkSql, tbl.Name, fk.Name, "{0}", fk.ReferencedTable, sourceDb.Tables[fk.ReferencedTable].Indexes[fk.ReferencedKey].IndexedColumns[0].Name);
                                    else if (sourceDb.Tables[fk.ReferencedTable].Indexes[fk.ReferencedKey].IndexedColumns.Count > 1)
                                        // Multi-Column PK
                                        createFKSql = String.Format(fkSql, tbl.Name, fk.Name, "{0}", fk.ReferencedTable, "{1}");
                                        string referencedColumns = String.Empty;
                                        foreach(IndexedColumn iCol in sourceDb.Tables[fk.ReferencedTable].Indexes[fk.ReferencedKey].IndexedColumns)
                                            // Separate Columns including the square brackets
                                            // to identify each referenced column.
                                            if (referencedColumns.Length > 0)
                                                referencedColumns = referencedColumns + "], [";
                                            referencedColumns = referencedColumns + iCol.Name;
                                        createFKSql = String.Format(createFKSql, "{0}", referencedColumns);
                                    StringBuilder sbFk = new StringBuilder();
                                    foreach (ForeignKeyColumn col in fk.Columns)
                                        // Added square brackets to identify each column.
                                        if (sbFk.Length > 0)
                                            sbFk.Append("], [");
But, as I said: only minor issues on a great tool Smile | :)
Sorry if I haven't used the 'best' coding-practice on these snippets, but I'm not a C#, but VB.Net developer.
Kind regards,
GeneralFor SQL Server CE 3.5 SP1 Pinmemberkshakir23-Jul-09 10:08 
QuestionSql 2008 support? Pinmemberkhanricksteele29-Apr-09 7:26 
QuestionUnknown datatype PinmemberMember 187125318-Mar-09 23:38 
AnswerRe: Unknown datatype PinmemberMember 265157316-Jun-09 6:32 
GeneralPrimery Keys are not correct after import to SQL Compact Pinmembervoellinger26-Jan-09 0:51 
GeneralOut of memory error Pinmembercess30-Nov-08 9:36 
Generalthere is problem with NVARCHAR(MAX) PinmemberTajniak520-Nov-08 5:51 
Generaliv been messing with this for a while until i found this.TNX!!!!! Pinmemberzivzuv18-Nov-08 20:37 
GeneralThis thing rocks! Pinmembersholliday5-Aug-08 10:32 
GeneralGreat work!!! only one thing and an Idea for future work Pinmembermape108223-Jul-08 6:19 
GeneralRe: Great work!!! only one thing and an Idea for future work PinmemberFrancois YACOB16-Jun-09 6:43 
GeneralType Conversion errors Pinmembergratajik15-Jul-08 13:25 
GeneralON DELETE ... ON UPDATE ... PinmemberHoang Cuong12-Jul-08 22:21 
Generaldata transfer PinmemberShaikh Sahrif28-Jun-08 19:18 
GeneralBrilliant PinmemberJohnny J.26-Jun-08 20:44 
GeneralError after conversion.. Opening converted file with SQL Management Studio PinmembermGxAlander5-Jun-08 17:46 
GeneralRe: Error after conversion.. Opening converted file with SQL Management Studio Pinmemberjohnnycantcode12-Jun-08 9:34 

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