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By mentioning these products here, I am not endorsing any of them for any particular purpose.  Nor do I guarantee that these versions are without bugs.  What I am saying is that these versions are what I use, and what I recommend to clients, based on the best information available to me when I last updated this page.

Current versions of products



Service Packs


Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 Stable SP5a A workhorse, but an aging standard
Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Stable SP4 Worth keeping, but 2000 is often faster.
Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Stable SP3 Incremental improvement over 7.0.  Biggest difference is the ability to run multiple independent instances.  Performance characteristics seem to have changed.
UltraEdit 10.x     My editor of choice
Windows 95/98 Obsolete   Unstable and weak, even with latest versions.
Windows Me Stable but aging   Inherits some stabilizing features from Windows2000, but it still can't compare with NT and 2000
Windows NT 4.0 Obsolete SP6a Worth keeping, but not worth installing.
Windows 2000 Stable SP3 Recommended for all new installs
Windows XP Stable SP1 The death of the Win9x series.  There's no rush to upgrade if you're on 2000, but it's the best choice for new installs.
Windows 2003 Server Bleeding edge   No experience yet.  Seems to fulfill some of the more paranoid predictions about Microsoft Corp.  Not for home use.
Internet Explorer 5 Obsolete   Recommend upgrading to 5.5 at least
Internet Explorer 5.5 Stable SP2 Generally accepted standard
Internet Explorer 6 Stable SP1 If you use IE, you should upgrade to this version, but make sure you load the latest security rollup.
Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) Stable Version 2.8 Latest version is always available here.
Microsoft Jet Stable SP8 Latest version is always available here.  No longer installed with MDAC starting with version 2.6.


Identifying your SQL Server service pack

To identify what service pack is installed on a particular SQL server, execute the query "select @@version" and compare the results against this table.  For example, here's the results on a SQL server running SQL 6.5 with Service Pack 5a installed:

Microsoft SQL Server 6.50 - 6.50.416 (Intel X86) 
        Jan 23 1999 14:10:24 
        Copyright (c) 1988-1997 Microsoft Corporation

All Service Packs are cumulative (SP3 includes SP2 and SP1), so installing a service pack includes all the earlier service packs.  If you see version numbers in between these, it means you have a "hot-fix" release, which is a custom build to fix a particular problem.  Hot-fix releases have not been regression tested, and should not be installed on production servers unless you accept the risks, which can be significant.  Please e-mail me (bwilson at getright.org) if you encounter a different number, so I can fill in the gaps.

The symbol marks the versions which, in my opinion, you should be using.  If more than one version is marked, use the latest available.  As new versions are released and I gain more experience with them, I will try to keep this chart up to date.

Version #

SQL Server version

SQL Server 6.0

6.00.121 6.0 "gold" release
6.00.124 Service Pack 1
6.00.139 Service Pack 2
6.00.151 Service Pack 3

SQL Server 6.5

6.50.201 SQL 6.5 "gold" release
6.50.213 Service Pack 1
6.50.240 Service Pack 2
6.50.252 Service Pack 3 (known bad version)
6.50.258 Service Pack 3a
6.50.259 6.5 as included with Small Business Server only
6.50.281 Service Pack 4 (cannot be installed on SBS or Enterprise Edition)
6.50.297 "Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition" hotfix
6.50.339 Y2K hotfix
6.50.415 Service Pack 5 (SQL 7.0 compatibility)
6.50.416 Service Pack 5a, 24Dec1998 (readme, fixlist, download)
6.50.464 Hotfix: error 213 on insert <table> exec <proc> (Q275483)

SQL Server 7.0

7.00.623 SQL 7.0 "gold" release
7.00.643 Hotfix: clustering servers with "-" in name (Q220156)
7.00.657 Hotfix: automated install (Q229875)
7.00.658 Hotfix: AV under high cursor stress (Q244763)
7.00.662 Hotfix: in with subquery may be slower than in 6.5 (Q232707)
7.00.699 Service Pack 1, 31Jul1999 (readme, fixlist, download)
7.00.722 Hotfix: oledb connections to DB2 (Q239458)
7.00.745 Hotfix: SQLAgent memory leak (Q253738)
7.00.770 Hotfix: Slow compile on join with unfiltered table (Q252905)
7.00.776 Hotfix: Error during shutdown (Q258087)
7.00.842 Service Pack 2, 20Mar2000 (readme, fixlist, download)
7.00.857 Hotfix: Publications with numeric filter do not replicate (Q260346)
7.00.879 Hotfix: Linked Index Server/OLEDB/or in where clause (Q281185)
7.00.889 Hotfix: Replication memory leaks (Q243741)
7.00.905 Hotfix: Data Modification Query with a Distinct Subquery on a View May Cause Error 3624 (Q274266)
7.00.910 Hotfix: SQL RPC That Raises Error Will Mask @@ERROR with Msg 7221 (Q275901)
7.00.917 Hotfix: bcp fails with long query (Q279180)
7.00.918 Hotfix: xp_ buffer overflow exploit (Q280380)
7.00.919 Hotfix: Incorrect results on join to convert([var]binary,) (SP2) (Q282243)
7.00.921 Hotfix: "nested queries" setting ignored on linked server (SP2) (Q283837)
7.00.961 Service Pack 3, 15Dec2000 (readme, fixlist, download)
7.00.970 Hotfix: "nested queries" setting ignored on linked server (SP3) (Q283837)
Hotfix: Incorrect results on join to convert([var]binary,) (SP3) (Q282243)
7.00.977 Hotfix: SQL Server Profiler and SQL Server Agent Alerts May Fail to Work After Installing SQL Server 7.0 SP3 (Q284351)
7.00.978 Hotfix: Update with table aliases may miss rows (Q285870)
7.00.1004 Hotfix: SQL Server Text Formatting Functions Contain Unchecked Buffers (Q304851)
7.00.1020 Cumulative Security Patch, 24Jan2002 (Q304851)
7.00.1063 Service Pack 4, 26Apr2002 (readme, fixlist, download)

SQL Server 2000 (8.0)

8.00.194 SQL 2000 "gold" release
8.00.204 Hotfix: Optimizer Slow to Generate Query Plan for Complex Queries that have Many Joins and Semi-Joins (Q274329)
8.00.205 Hotfix: Sending Open Files as Attachment in SQL Mail Fails with Error 18025 (Q274330)
8.00.210 Hotfix: Linked Server Query with Hyphen in LIKE Clause May Run Slowly (Q275900)
8.00.211 Hotfix: Complex Distinct or Group By Query Can Return Unexpected Results with Parallel Execution Plan (Q276329)
8.00.217 Hotfix: CASE Using LIKE with Empty String Can Result in Access Violation or Abnormal Server Shutdown (Q279293)
Hotfix: Using ALTER TABLE to Change Column Type Can Result in Unexpected NULL Values on INSERT (Q279296)
8.00.218 Hotfix: Scripting Object with Several Extended Properties May Cause Exception (Q279183)
8.00.222 Hotfix: AV in query normalization (Q281769)
8.00.223 Hotfix: xp_ buffer overflow exploit (Q280380)
8.00.225 Hotfix: SQLOLEDB leaves an open transaction (Q281663)
8.00.226 Hotfix: Extreme Memory Usage When Adding Many Security Roles (Q278239)
8.00.231 Hotfix: sp_OACreate can cause server shutdown (Q282279)
8.00.233 Hotfix: Opening the Database Folder in SQL Server Enterprise Manager 2000 Takes a Long Time (Q282416)
8.00.239 Hotfix: AV on complex ANSI joins of multiply distributed queries (Q285290)
8.00.249 Hotfix: Lock Monitor Uses Excessive CPU (Q288122)
8.00.250 Hotfix: xp_sqlagent_param Problems with Windows Authentication (Q291683)
8.00.287 Hotfix: Deletes, Updates and Rank Based Selects May Cause Deadlock of MSSEARCH (Q297209)
8.00.384 Service Pack 1, 12Jul2001 (readme, fixlist, download)
8.00.428 Hotfix: SQL Server Text Formatting Functions Contain Unchecked Buffers (Q304850)
8.00.443 Hotfix: SQLTrace Start and Stop is Now Reported in Windows NT Event Log for SQL Server 2000 (Q307538)
8.00.444 Hotfix: SQLPutData May Result in Leak of Buffer Pool Memory (Q307540)
Hotfix: Querying Syslockinfo with Large Numbers of Locks May Cause Server to Stop Responding (Q307655)
8.00.452 Hotfix: SELECT DISTINCT from Table with LEFT JOIN of View Causes Error Messages or Client Application May Stop Responding (Q308547)
8.00.532 Service Pack 2, 30Nov2001 (readme, fixlist, download)
8.00.534 Cumulative security patch (Q316333)
8.00.679 SQL Server 2000 Security Update for Service Pack 2 (Q316333)
8.00.0760 Service Pack 3, 17Jan2003 (readme, readme addendum, fixlist, download)

SQL Server 2005 (9.0)

9.00.1399.06 SQL 2005 RTM
9.00.2047.00 Service Pack 1, 18Mar2006 ( readme, fixlist, download)

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