SQL: Why is SQL Server Configuration Manager missing?

Ever since it appeared back in earlier versions of SQL Server, I've normally launched SQL Server Configuration Manager from the Start menu in Windows. But every now and then, with some versions, it seemed to disappear. Now with the latest version of SQL Server installed on the latest version of Windows, it's not there at all.

While it is possible to put it back in the menu, I think it's time for us to get used to starting it in a different way.

What's going on?

SQL Server Configuration Manager is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in. If you just want to follow the normal menus, you can start the normal computer management tool for your system and you'll find what you're looking for here:

There are several ways to start Computer Management. You can choose it from the menu in Server Manager, or you can right-click your PC in Windows Explorer and choose Manage.

Easier, you can just click the Windows Start button and type compmgmt or computer management.

There's also nothing stopping you from typing the name of the snap-in directly too. For SQL Server 2017, you could type SQLServerManager14.msc and you'd launch it directly.

For other versions:

SQL Server 2019 SQLServerManager15.msc
SQL Server 2016 SQLServerManager13.msc
SQL Server 2014 SQLServerManager12.msc
SQL Server 2012 SQLServerManager11.msc

But I want a shortcut!

The file lives in the folder C:\Windows\SysWOW64 so you can always create a shortcut to it if you'd like to go back to the previous behaviour of having it in a menu or a shortcut.

On your desktop, right-click and choose New then Shortcut.

Enter the path to the file in the shortcut (SQL Server 2017 one shown) and click Next:

And then name the shortcut:

Then when you click Finish, you get a shortcut on the desktop.

Now, I dislike a messy desktop so I don't want it there. But you can then just right-click it and choose to put it on the Start Menu or the Task Bar.

I then delete the shortcut on the desktop, and you have your easy launch option back.


SQLBits – A World of Free SQL Server and Data Information Online

There are many SQL Server events around the world each year, and many are just awesome events. One that has grown non-stop and is currently my pick of these events is SQLBits.

Our UK buddies behind this (currently Simon Sabin, Darren Green, Annette Allen, Jonathan Allen, and Alex Whittles) have created an event that all others should be looking to.

I love the way they combine technical content with fun.

And, showing a true community flair, one day of the conference is free to attend as well.

But the #1 best thing they do all the time, is to make this content available to you online for free. I can't emphasize how wonderful that is. Other conferences, if they have the content available at all, charge you to access it.

Here's the latest session content.

If you're able to get to the UK, attending is a no-brainer. I'm hoping to be in the UK again soon, and will try to line it up with a SQLBits event if I can.

Here's some info on why to attend:



Our new online on-demand SQL Server Reporting Services class is now live!

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We've been working hard to move all our popular in-person training courses online and on-demand, so anyone in the world can take them.

Our SQL Server Reporting Services for Developers and DBAs course is now out the door.

This is the same course that we run as the first day of our 5 day BI Core Skills course. And it's not just videos, there are:

  • Quizzes
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Learning Mandarin: Counting in Mandarin

In any new language, learning to count is important. So today, I'll start with the words for the numbers from 0 to 100.

The primary digits are as follows:

(Líng) is zero

(Yī) is one

(Èr) is two

(Sān) is three

(Sì) is four

(Wǔ) is five

(Liù) is six

(Qī) is seven

(Bā) is eight

(Jiǔ) is nine

(Shí) is ten

To form the values from 11 to 19, we use ten followed by the digit. So

十一 (Shíyī) is eleven

十二 (Shí'èr) is twelve

and so on up to 19.

To make multiples of ten, we use a digit before the ten:

五十 (Wǔshí) is fifty (5 followed by 10)

九十 (Jiǔshí) is ninety (9 followed by 10)

And then to make the other values, we use a digit before and after the ten:

五十三 (Wǔshísān) is fifty-three (five tens and three)

So that covers all from 0 to 99.

Learning Mandarin

I'll write more soon on the best methods for learning. If you want to get a taste for it in the meantime though, my current favorite is Tutor Ming. If you decide to try it, click here and it's a bit cheaper for you, and for me.

Book Review: Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

Leigh Sales is a well-respected local journalist. I feel some affinity for her, as she's grown up in Queensland and often comments on things from her childhood that I clearly remember, even though Leigh is younger than me. I was fascinated to read her book Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life.

I decided to read her book before I knew anything about it at all. I knew it was "Any Ordinary Day". I hadn't realized it was "Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life", so it was quite an unexpected story for me.

You often (perhaps too often) hear about tragedies, terrorism outcomes, and disasters and about the people affected. What you don't usually hear much about, is what happens after the events.

In the book, Leigh talks about the aftermath of these events. She starts with a discussion about the Lindt Cafe Seige in Sydney and then moves through many stories about what's happened to people on the worst days of their lives, and what happens after.

I really appreciated the detail that Leigh went to in investigating the content for this book. She had really insightful interviews, not only with the survivors but also wonderful interviews with coroners, police, politicians, forensic counsellors, etc.

Leigh really peels back details that usually just aren't discussed, and I found it really quite compelling.

Bottom line?

This book is quite fascinating and takes you into discussions and details that I've never seen in other books. Hopefully, you won't be one of the people who have a similar story, but I suspect you'd be better prepared (if that's possible) by reading this book. At the very least, you might know more about how to work with or relate to people who are in these situations.

Greg's rating: 9 out of 10

Note: as an Amazon Associate I earn (a pittance) from qualifying purchases but whether or not I recommend a book is unrelated to this. One day it might just help cover some of my site costs. (But given the rate, that's not really likely anyway).

SQL: What's negative rounding in SQL Server T-SQL?

I remember being pleased some years back when I finished reading all of SQL Server's Books Online (now just the documentation pages for T-SQL and SQL Server). The more of those pages I read, the more I was fascinated by small things that I hadn't noticed even though I'd used the product for a long time. There's so much to SQL Server and even just to T-SQL, that I still find unexpected things all the time.

Today I was reading an email from Postgres Weekly (yes I follow the dark side too), and it mentioned about what happens with the ROUND function if you pass a negative number to the second parameter i.e. the one that specifies how many decimal place.


I don't know why but it had never dawned on me that I could pass a negative value to that, and sure enough, that works exactly the same way in SQL Server and T-SQL.

If you pass a negative value, you start going back up through the whole number part instead of the decimal part. Here are some examples:

For me, that was both unexpected, and way cool. I can't imagine why I'd never thought about it before, but that's going to be useful for me in future. I used to do that type of rounding in far messier ways.

Hope you find it useful too.


SDU Tools: TrainCase and KebabCase in T-SQL

In our free SDU Tools for developers and DBAs, a number of the string formatting functions have been quite popular, and we keep getting requests for even more.

Today's post highlights another two of these. TrainCase is words with the first letters capitalized, then separated by underscores. KebabCase has dashes as separators. It's named because it looks like a kebab.

You can see them (and some others) in action in the main image above, and in this video:

To become an SDU Insider and to get our free tools and eBooks, please just visit here:


Opinion: A little plea to developers – no more desktop shortcuts by default

A quick piece today to talk about something that still seems to drive me crazy.

Why oh why do so many applications still default to putting a shortcut on the desktop when you're installing them? And this applies to even very current applications.

I installed Chrome on some machines yesterday, and again, no question during install, but desktop shortcuts created.

Haven't we moved on past this?

Nowadays, there really isn't a need to plaster shortcuts all over the desktop for all the applications on the machine. And it's counterproductive anyway.

And hint: The desktop also isn't a great place to store files but I understand part of the logic for this. I often drop temporary files right on the desktop, but just so they annoy me until I remove them. That wouldn't work though if my desktop was just plastered with files.

T-SQL 101: #8 What are tables in SQL Server?

I mentioned previously that databases hold collections of information about related things. But what are these "things"? Well, that's what the tables are.

Tables are the most basic objects that live in a database. They hold information about one type of thing. You might call the things "entities" but it's not 100% accurate. It's the same problem if you call them "objects". They aren't really objects. They basically are just "things" that we're storing information about, like employees, books, cinemas, products, and more. ANSI SQL called them "relations".

Viewing Tables

Object Explorer in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), can let you drill down to see the existing tables in a database. If you did that for the PopkornKraze database, you'd see this:

I prefer to see tables given plural names (as they are storing information about all the products, or all the cinemas, not just one) but that's a near-religious argument for some people, that I won't get into today. The one exception that I have for plural names is if a table will only ever hold a single row. In that case, I make it singular. Regardless, you will see plenty of sites where they have used singular names throughout, and I can work with that if I need to.


Columns are where the actual details are held. If you called the things that tables hold information about "entities", columns would be closer to "attributes" i.e. it's the things that we know about the entity.

Importantly, columns also have data types and other characteristics. Data types are useful because they restrict the values that can be stored in a column. So a salary might be a decimal value, not just a string, and the data type stops us trying to put "ABC" into a salary column.

A single row in a table, holds information about one specific entity.  If you right-click a table name in Object Explorer, you'll have an option to select a number of rows from the table. If you did that for the dbo.Cinemas table, you'd see an image similar to this:

In that, you can see that the first row has all the information about one cinema, the next row has all the same information about another cinema, and so on.

It's also worth noting that many older books on databases might use words like "records" and "fields" but for ANSI SQL databases, we talk about "rows" and "columns" instead, and these are the words you should use.

Learning T-SQL

It's worth your while becoming proficient in SQL. If you'd like to learn a lot about T-SQL in a hurry, our Writing Queries for SQL Server course is online, on-demand, and low cost.

Learning Mandarin: Color words

Yet another useful group of words that are best learned as a set are the words to describe colors.

Now the general term for color is:

颜色 (Yánsè)

I can use it in a sentence like this:

那是什么颜色? (Nà shì shénme yánsè?) is basically "what is that color?" or better "what color is that?"

To answer it, here are some common colors:

红色 (Hóng sè) is red

蓝色 (Lán sè) is blue

黄色 (Huáng sè) is yellow

绿色 (Lǜsè) is green

黑色 (Hēi sè) is black

白色 (Bái sè) is white

褐色 (Hé sè) is brown

灰色 (Huī sè) is gray

粉色 (Fěn sè) is pink (although my mother in law says 粉红色 (Fěnhóng sè) which is like "pinkish red")

金 色 (Jīn sè) is gold

银色 (Yín sè) is silver

紫色 (Zǐ sè) is purple

橙色 (Chéng sè) is orange

This is a good general set to get started with. And of course, as we do in English, there are entire families of colors and shades associated with each of these.

For example, (Shēn) is deep and so it's no surprise that

深绿色 (Shēn lǜsè) is deep green or dark green.

Learning Mandarin

I'll write more soon on the best methods for learning. If you want to get a taste for it in the meantime though, my current favorite is Tutor Ming. If you decide to try it, click here and it's a bit cheaper for you, and for me.