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Posted 20 Jan 2006


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Running DotNetNuke 4.0.2 on Windows XP Home or on any other system lacking IIS

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13 Feb 20074 min read
This article describes how to run DotNetNuke content management system on UltiDev Cassini web server, which unlike IIS can run on Windows XP Home and can be redistributed along with the DotNetNuke applications.


Successful completion of this walkthrough requires following components:
- Any flavor of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003.
- .NET Framework 2.0.
- UltiDev Cassini Web Server 2.0
- SQL Server 2005 – Complete or Express version
- SQL Server Management Studio – Complete or Express version
- DotNetNuke 4.0.2 Install package

The article assumes readers are able to perform basic SQL Server 2005 management operations, like installing SQL Server and creating a new database.


If you plan to run your DotNetNuke application on systems that can't run IIS, like Windows XP Home, or if your customers lack skills necessary to install and maintain IIS, you should consider distributing your DNN-based application with UltiDev Cassini Web Server – a small redistributable web server capable of running ASP.NET applications without IIS.

The instructions on how to make redistributable package for an ASP.NET application including UltiDev Cassini Web Server, please refer either to this Codeproject article, or to UltiDev Cassini Developer's Guide. Most of this walkthrough has to do with installing DotNetNuke itself, including creating its database and specifying correct connection string in its web.config file. Once that is done, actual registration of DNN with Cassini server and running the application is really a piece of cake.

Well, let's get our hands dirty. For simplicity sake, we'll put SQL Server 2005 that is an underpinning of DNN, on the same box where DNN is running. If you have experience with installing and configuring DNN, then install DNN your way, skip Part I and go straight to Part II.

Part I - DotNetNuke Installation.

This part is just a straight up DNN installation and has nothing to do with running it on Cassini. If you know how to install DNN, please install it and skip to the Part II.

  1. Download DotNetNuke 4.0.2 Install Package. Unpack the ZIP file into C:\DNN folder.
  2. Navigate to C:\DNN folder and copy release.config file to web.config.
  3. If you don't have SQL Server 2005 install, download and install SQL Server 2005 Express and its management console – SQL Server Management Studio. Accept all defaults while installing SQL Server Express. (If you have SQL Server 2000 or 2005 installed on this or other box, and you know how to use it, then just create a new database on it and call it DotNetNuke. You may then skip steps explaining how to create a database and format a connection string for your ASP.NET application)
  4. Use SQL Server Management studio to connect to SQL Server Express you just installed. Once there, create new database:
    New database creation using SQL Management Studio

    …call it DotNetNuke and make sa or some other high-powered SQL login an owner of the database:
    Creating DotNetNuke Database On SQL Server 2005
    …click OK.
  5. Navigate to DNN's database users and make dbo an owner of the database by double-clicking on the dbo user
    dbo login of DotNetNuke database

    …and then adding db_owner schema to set of schemas owned by dbo:
    db_owner schema applied to dbo login for DotNetNuke database
    Click OK.
  6. Modify web.config file in C:\DNN folder by replacing connection string value to point to the newly created database. The connection string should look like "Data Source=.\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=DotNetNuke;Integrated Security=True". Edit web.config file to look like this:

    <!-- Connection String for SQL Server 2005 Express -->

    <add name="SiteSqlServer"
    connectionString="Data Source=.\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=DotNetNuke;Integrated Security=True;"

    <!-- Connection String for SQL Server 2005 Express - kept for backwards compatability - legacy modules -->
    <add key="SiteSqlServer" value="Data Source=.\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=DotNetNuke;Integrated Security=True;"/>

Part II – Running DotNetNuke on UltiDev Cassini.

  1. Download and install UltiDev Cassini Web Server 2.0.
  2. From Start | All Programs | UltiDev | Cassini ASP.NET Server, launch Cassini Explorer utility to register DotNetNuke application with the server.
  3. Fill out form fields highlighted below and hit Generate button.
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure you uncheck "Always keep application in memory" checkbox before you ran the DNN for the first time. Otherwise DNN will not install itself correctly and you will have to remove DNN application files, delete the DB and start everything from scratch!
    Registering DotNetNuke application with Ultidev Cassini Web Server - Step 1
  4. Click Save button:
    Registering DotNetNuke with UltiDev Cassini Webserver - Step 2
  5. Click this link to start DotNetNuke running under Cassini:
    Cassini Explorer displaying DotNetNuke as a registered Cassini application
  6. And here it is: DotNetNuke running on Cassini:
    DotNetNuke running on UltiDev Cassini webserver - Initialization

    After DNN is done initializing itself, scroll browser window down and launch the DNN:
    DotNetNuke running on UltiDev Cassini Web Server - Initialization Complete

    and enjoy DNN on Cassini:
    DotNetNuke up and runnign on UltiDev Cassini Web Server

To improve DNN's first-page-served response time, you may want to prevent DNN from being unloaded by ASP.NET. To do that, go back to Cassini Explorer, Edit DNN's application settings and mark the "Always keep application in memory" checkbox, and Save configuration. It's important to do that AFTER DNN initialized itself, so please run DNN in a browser first, and only then change the "keep application in memory" flag.

If you want to dig deeper, find out how to debug and distribute any ASP.NET applications, including DotNetNuke-based ones, with UltiDev Cassini.


Recent DotNetNuke 4.3.x. Install version is much easier to install and run under UltiDev Cassini than DNN 4.0.x. It does not need a database to be created upfront, or connection strings changed in web.config. Just download DNN, unzip it, register it with UltiDev Cassini Web Server and run it from Cassini Explorer. No need to even have SQL Server Management Studio downloaded.

Vlad Hrybok,

UltiDev LLC


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralDNN 4.8.1 reported as working well with UltiDev Cassini. Pin
Vlad Hrybok28-Feb-08 4:47
MemberVlad Hrybok28-Feb-08 4:47 
GeneralCassini and DotNetNuke 4.5.5 Pin
Moby26-Aug-07 23:25
MemberMoby26-Aug-07 23:25 
GeneralRe: Cassini and DotNetNuke 4.5.5 Pin
Vlad Hrybok28-Aug-07 17:24
MemberVlad Hrybok28-Aug-07 17:24 
Questioncreating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Khomeini5-Aug-07 2:46
MemberKhomeini5-Aug-07 2:46 
AnswerRe: creating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Khomeini5-Aug-07 2:48
MemberKhomeini5-Aug-07 2:48 
GeneralRe: creating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Vlad Hrybok6-Aug-07 4:19
MemberVlad Hrybok6-Aug-07 4:19 
GeneralRe: creating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Khomeini6-Aug-07 4:45
MemberKhomeini6-Aug-07 4:45 
GeneralRe: creating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Vlad Hrybok6-Aug-07 4:50
MemberVlad Hrybok6-Aug-07 4:50 
GeneralRe: creating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Khomeini6-Aug-07 6:02
MemberKhomeini6-Aug-07 6:02 
GeneralRe: creating and connecting sqlServer2005 to DNN 4.0.2 Pin
Vlad Hrybok6-Aug-07 7:38
MemberVlad Hrybok6-Aug-07 7:38 
Questioncan i create my nuke ptroject in C# Pin
souravmoy sau5-Sep-06 2:12
Membersouravmoy sau5-Sep-06 2:12 
GeneralIMPORTANT: Uncheck "Keep application in memory" box before running DNN for the first time. Pin
Vlad Hrybok16-May-06 11:20
MemberVlad Hrybok16-May-06 11:20 
GeneralErro connect database Pin
onebitcuongdv15-Apr-06 17:51
Memberonebitcuongdv15-Apr-06 17:51 
GeneralNew version (RC1) is now available Pin
Vlad Hrybok14-Mar-06 18:04
MemberVlad Hrybok14-Mar-06 18:04 
GeneralProblem with Dynamic IP and DNN on Cassini Pin
Andrew Brien28-Jan-06 7:33
MemberAndrew Brien28-Jan-06 7:33 
GeneralRe: Problem with Dynamic IP and DNN on Cassini Pin
Vlad Hrybok28-Jan-06 10:42
MemberVlad Hrybok28-Jan-06 10:42 
GeneralRe: Problem with Dynamic IP and DNN on Cassini Pin
Andrew Brien29-Jan-06 8:56
MemberAndrew Brien29-Jan-06 8:56 
GeneralRe: Problem with Dynamic IP and DNN on Cassini Pin
Vlad Hrybok29-Jan-06 9:16
MemberVlad Hrybok29-Jan-06 9:16 
QuestionSQL Server 2000 and 2005 Pin
solusoft24-Jan-06 22:21
Membersolusoft24-Jan-06 22:21 
AnswerRe: SQL Server 2000 and 2005 Pin
Paul Conrad26-Jan-06 13:57
professionalPaul Conrad26-Jan-06 13:57 
GeneralSweeeeet Pin
Paul Conrad21-Jan-06 19:06
professionalPaul Conrad21-Jan-06 19:06 
GeneralRe: Sweeeeet Pin
Vlad Hrybok22-Jan-06 2:59
MemberVlad Hrybok22-Jan-06 2:59 
GeneralRe: Sweeeeet Pin
Paul Conrad22-Jan-06 4:52
professionalPaul Conrad22-Jan-06 4:52 
GeneralRe: Sweeeeet Pin
Paul Conrad22-Jan-06 4:54
professionalPaul Conrad22-Jan-06 4:54 
GeneralRe: Sweeeeet Pin
Vlad Hrybok22-Jan-06 5:13
MemberVlad Hrybok22-Jan-06 5:13 

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