Getting SQL Server Assistance
There are three principal sources of information from Microsoft about SQL Server:
The documentation, tutorials, and samples installed with SQL Server.
The SQL Server sites on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet.
SQL Server information on additional Microsoft Web sites.
If you do not find the information you are looking for in these sources, you can either post questions in the SQL Server community forums and newsgroups, or you can open a support case with Microsoft.
When you install SQL Server, you can install the SQL Server documentation (SQL Server Books Online), sample applications, and tutorials. SQL Server Books Online, samples, and tutorials cover the concepts and procedures required to use SQL Server effectively. SQL Server Books Online also includes reference material for the languages and programming interfaces for storing, retrieving, reporting, and modifying data using SQL Server.
If you install the documentation and tutorials by using the SQL Server 2008 Setup program, you can access them in two ways:
Through the Documentation and Tutorials submenu on the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 program group.
Through F1 Help and Dynamic Help in the SQL Server tools and utilities.
SQL Server 2008 Books Online is also available on the Web. This gives you access to the documentation from a computer on which SQL Server is not installed:
A copy of SQL Server 2008 Books Online is published in both the MSDN Library and the TechNet Library. The topics in these copies of the SQL Server Books Online include comments from the community, such as additional information and code examples from other customers. TechNet searches for SQL Server information will return relevant topics from the TechNet Library version of SQL Server 2008 Books Online. All other Web searches for SQL Server information will return relevant topics from the MSDN Library version of SQL Server 2008 Books Online. You can view the MSDN Library copy at the SQL Server 2008 Books Online Web Page.
A downloadable copy of SQL Server 2008 Books Online is available on the Web. You can use the download to install SQL Server Books Online on computers that are not running SQL Server 2008. For more information, see Downloading and Updating Books Online.
Both the download file and the copy of SQL Server Books Online in the MSDN Library are refreshed when Microsoft publishes an update to SQL Server 2008 Books Online.
For more information about installing and accessing the sample applications and databases, see AdventureWorks Sample Databases.
The Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) provides online and offline services that help developers write applications using Microsoft products and technologies. The Microsoft TechNet Program delivers comprehensive technical resources that help IT professionals efficiently evaluate, deploy, and support Microsoft solutions.
Several sites on MSDN and TechNet provide a specific audience with links to the SQL Server information most relevant to their jobs, including the information in the copies of the SQL Server Books Online on MSDN or TechNet. These sites also contain information that extends the information available in the Books Online.
The following table describes these resources and their intended audience.
Developers who are building SQL Server databases, reporting systems, and business intelligence solutions, and enabling their applications and Web sites to use these systems.
Developers who are enabling their applications and Web sites to use data stored using products such as SQL Server and Access.
Web site creators and application developers whose sites and applications utilize XML for data storage and manipulation.
Administrators and operators who plan, deploy, administer, and support systems that use SQL Server.
Additional SQL Server information is available from these Microsoft Web sites.
Provides pre-sales information about evaluating SQL Server as a data storage and business intelligence tool.
Provides a searchable repository of SQL Server articles written by Microsoft support.
Describes Microsoft training and certifications for SQL Server.
Lists Microsoft Press books about SQL Server.
If you have not found the information you are looking for in the product documentation or on the Web you can ask a question in the SQL Server community forums and newsgroups. You can also request help from product support.
Please do not post questions in the Community Comments section at the bottom of the SQL Server Books Online topics in the MSDN Library or TechNet Library. Those sections are not monitored for questions, and you will usually not receive an answer. Please post questions in the community forums and newsgroups, which are monitored by other customers who can answer your questions.
The following table links to and describes these resources.
Has links to newsgroups and forums monitored by the SQL Server community. It also lists community information sources, such as blogs and Web sites. The SQL Server community is very helpful in answering questions, although there is no guarantee of an answer.
This site focuses on the newsgroups, forums, and other community resources that are useful to SQL Server developers.
You can use this Web site to open a support case with a Microsoft support professional.
Microsoft products have a support lifecycle that defines how long support is available for each release. Microsoft support maintains a page that defines the Microsoft support lifecycle. The page contains links to other pages that specify the availability of support for Microsoft products. For more information, see Microsoft Support Lifecycle.