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Written by: ronen ariely
08/04/2020 02:45 RssIcon

Hi guys, 

There is no reason to wait till you read the entire post. First click on the link to download SQL Server Management Studio Version 18.5, and while the download in progress we can go over the main changes which come  with the new version of SQL Server Management Studio. This way, when you finish to read the post, you will be ready to click the installation file and start your user experience with the new SSMS 18.5😀

New Installation vs Upgrade older version

Note! The SSMS 18.x can run side by side SSMS versions 17.x or earlier, but you can have only a single installation of SSMS version 18.x

According to the documentation there is NO upgrade version at this time for existing installation of SSMS 18.x. If you have a preview version of SSMS 18.x series installed, then you must uninstall it before installing SSMS 18.5. 

With that being said, I tested the new installation file on machines with previous versions 18.4 and 18.3 and it seems like using the new installation file, upgrades the existing installation. Therefore, I cannot tell you if the installation was done fully without any issue. If there is any such issue, then I might find in the future. I assume that the documentation is going on the safe side which mean to have a new clean installation. Anyhow, choose what you do on your own risk, but remember the official document says that you need to uninstall previous versions of the 18.X series.

Uninstall SSMS

Unfortunately there is no ordered way to uninstall SSMS using the installation media of the SMS. The solution which Microsoft provides is to use the OS feature of "Add or Remove Programs".

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  3. In the list of installed programs, click Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and then click Change.
  4. On the Component Selection page, select Workstation components, and then click Next.
  5. Click Next.
  6. On the Change or Remove Instance page, click Change Installed Components.
  7. Expand Client Components, click Management Tools, and then select Entire Feature will be Unavailable.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Click Install.


Installing the new version of SSMS

I recommend to install SSMS as administrator and enable it tp all users.


What's new in 18.5 (copied from the official documentation)

  • Added support for Power BI endpoint in Analysis Services - matching functionality of Azure Analysis Services.
  • The result view of the Vulnerability assessment scan, has a new button to remediate data classification rule by going to the data classification pane.
  • Added support for sensitivity rank in Data Classification.
  • Added support to Import Data-Tier Application (.bacpac) to SQL Azure HyperScale.
  • Support executing SSIS Package from file system in MI Agent Job.
  • Made user-friendly improvements in configuring Azure-enabled DTExec to invoke SSIS package executions on Azure-SSIS Integration Runtime..
  • Support connecting Azure-SSIS integration runtime and managing or executing SSIS packages in package stores.
  • Support migrating on-premises SSIS agent jobs to ADF pipelines and triggers.
  • Made an improvement for the user experience of exporting SSIS projects from SSIS DB. Compared with the old Export, which loaded and upgraded packages in the SSIS project, the new version-independent Export won't load and upgrade packages in the SSIS project. Instead, it keeps packages in the projects as they are in SSIS DB except changing protection level to EncryptSensitiveWithUserKey.
  • Added new DwMaterializedViewDistribution property to View object.
  • Removed support for Feature Restriction (this preview feature has been removed from SQL Azure and SQL on-prem).
  • Added Notebook as a destination for Generate Scripts wizard.
  • Added support for Azure Synapse Analytics serverless SQL pool.
  • SQL Assessment API - Platform, Name, and engineEdition fields can now contain usual comma-separated lists (platform: [Windows, Linux]), not only regular expressions (platform: /Windows|Linux/)
  • SQL Assessment API - Added 13 assessment rules. For more details, go to GitHub).


My Insights


No direct upgrade option! 

I pretty sure that more than 99% of the people that will want to install the new version in the next month are these who already have previous version 18.4 installed. These are usually the same experts who follow the news and upgrade their tools as fast as can. Well, I hate the fact that we cannot upgrade directly! I really think this is a bad approach. If there is a reason to uninstall old versions then I expect the new version to do this task as well.

SSMS does not provide a direct option to uninstall it! 

This is really bad approach in my opinion. Like any other common application in my opinion there should be a menu of options while we execute the installation file. There should be menu which let us choose for example between (1) Fix previous installation (2) Upgrade Previous installation. (3) Uninstall. (4) New Installation.

SSMS installation file names does not include the version

This is something which I already mentioned many times in close channels and in public. The name of the installation file of SSMS is always the same and it does not includes the version of the installation. THIS IS BAD! It prevent us from keeping multiple installation files, it lead to mistakes and installation of old versions instead of the new one, it make the life of users, who manage multiple machines and lead multiple teams, much harder! If you manage multiple teams and tens or even hundreds of machines then it make no sense to download the file multiple times. We always manage the installation files internally by download once to a shared centralized location. But if all the files has the same name then we cannot manage the history and make sure that everyone get the new version.