Windows Azure SDK: connecting to non SQLExpress Instance

When you want to build an Azure application, but you don’t have SQL Express installed the build action in Visual Studio will fail.

You will receive the following message in your output window:

Windows Azure Tools: Failed to initialize the Development Storage service. Unable to start Development Storage. Failed to start Development Storage: the SQL Server instance ‘localhost\SQLExpress’ could not be found. Please configure the SQL Server instance for Development Storage using the ‘DSInit’ utility in the Windows Azure SDK.

To fix this you open the Windows Azure SDK Command Prompt:

Windows Azure SDK Command Prompt

And enter the following text:

dsinit /sqlinstance:.

dsinit /sqlinstance:.

This will cause Azure to use the default instance (with no name). You can switch this to whatever you like, just replace the . (dot) by the appropriate MS SQL instance.

The result will look like this:

Development Storage Initialization

Good luck, happy coding.

Debugging applications in virtual machines with VMware Workstation 7 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1

Can be a hassle, that’s why I’m writing this post for you:

First of all some prerequisites:

  • VMware Workstation 7 (6.5 probably will be the same)
  • A VM, XP / Vista / 7, whatever you want
  • Visual Studio 2008 SP1

Second of all: VMware can be a little cryptic with it’s error messages so stay calm!

We start by having our sample application we want to run on the VM:


Next we click the wrench tool on the VMware toolbar in Visual Studio:

Click the wrench tool

This opens the following dialog:

Virtual Debugger Configuration Pages

For your convenience I highlighted the settings you need to change.

The following order is not the order in the window, but the order that seems the most understandable in my opinion:

Virtual Machine: The VM you want to debug into, just select a suitable vmx.

Remote Debug Monitor Path: The path to Remote Debugger folder on the host computer NOT on the guest! So for 32-bit debugging that would be:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\Remote Debugger\x86\msvsmon.exe

Replace x86 with x64 if you require 64-bit debugging.

Shared Folders: This one is not used

Guest Command: The command to be executed on the guest to start the application. This one was quite the hassle for me. If you leave it on the standard it will result in the following (cryptic) error:

A valid executable name has not been specified in Debugger settings. You can change this in Project > Properties > Debugging.

So instead of leaving it on default you enter this;

\\vmware-host\Shared Folders\test\application.exe

Please replace application.exe to the name of your executable!

The last item, Guest Logon Credentials, is the easiest. This should be the username and password you use to log in to the VM.

Next up is setting the shared folder between the guest and the host.

While I tried this with the Shared Folder Item in the window we just filled in, I just can’t seem to get it to work. So I bypassed this.

Go to the settings of the VM (in VMware Workstation –> VM –> Settings (CTRL+D)):


On the second tab, you take shared folders, and click add (as pointed on the picture).

On the wizard I would suggest opening the shared folder in the debug folder of your application and name the shared folder ‘test’


Enable the share in the following window, and make it read-write.

Now we can start the debugging from Visual Studio. The application will then be started through the shared folder we just created.

Getting the DNS servers with .NET without WMI

Someone pointed me at System.Net.NetworkInformation, which has a lot of interesting objects.

You don’t have to use strings and query the WMI at runtime, which means you get compile time checking!

using System;
using System.Net;
using System.Net.NetworkInformation;

namespace WMITest
    internal class Program
        public static int Main(string[] args)
            NetworkInterface[] adapters = NetworkInterface.GetAllNetworkInterfaces();
            foreach (NetworkInterface adapter in adapters)
                IPInterfaceProperties properties = adapter.GetIPProperties();

                foreach (IPAddress dnsServer in properties.DnsAddresses)
                    Console.WriteLine("{0} ", dnsServer);


            return 0;

Hope it helps 🙂