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Collations and SQL Server Client Applications

There are 80 new or newly revised Windows collations now available in SQL Server 2008 that can be selected during SQL Server setup. In some instances, down-level client applications on machines installed with older operating systems may lose connection to SQL Server 2008 server installations. Alternatively, some client connections are maintained, but an error message may indicate that there is a collation mismatch between the client and server data, and no collation conversion on the server data will occur.

The following table describes the behavior of the client-server connections when a down-level client connects to a database with an unrecognized collation.

Client version

Server connection

SQL Server Native Client for SNAC9

If the client can not map a client-side codepage to the unrecognized server-applied collation, the client connection will display an error, no collation conversion will occur, connection, USE, or ALTER statements may fail, and the connection may close.

For more information and a hotfix download for specific connection errors related to collation mismatches with SQL Server Native Client for SNAC9 only, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 944929: "The connection is closed or you receive an error message when you use SQL Server Native Client in SQL Server 2005 to obtain data that is stored in SQL Server 2008 collations."

SQL Server Native Client for SNAC10

The client maps the unrecognized server collation LCID to the codepage based on the client machine's system locale. If the collation LCID is unrecognized, the client then attempts to look up the codepage.

If the client is unsuccessful in mapping a client-side codepage to the unrecognized server collation, the client connection will display an error and no collation conversion will occur.

Visual Studio 2008

Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio .NET 2003

The client maps the unrecognized server collation LCID to the codepage based on the client machine's system locale. If the collation LCID is unrecognized, the client then attempts to look up the codepage.

If the client is unsuccessful in mapping a client-side codepage to the unrecognized server collation, the client connection will display an error and no collation conversion will occur.

When the down-level client is SQL Server Native Client for SNAC9, make certain the behavior of your connection matches the symptoms discussed in Microsoft Knowledge Base article 944929 before you download and install the hotfix described. 

In instances where other client applications do not recognize the collation of the data from the server, we recommend that you upgrade the client operating system or check with your application provider to see if there is a service update to the database client software. Alternatively, you can use a different collation with your data.

For more information on changing collations, see Setting and Changing Collations.

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