You will download the file. Once downloaded, you will run the exe and it will decompress the files.
Let’s assume you extract the files to c:\wutemp\msde\
The trick with the install is that running the "setup.exe" file (in c:\wutemp\msde\ folder) won’t really do anything.
The program installs from the command line prompt. Here are some short cuts.
Inside the c:\wutemp\msde\ folder, create 2 new files.
The contents of InstallMSDEWithMyParameters.bat will be:
setup /settings "MyParameters.ini" SAPWD="sapassword" /L*v C:/MSDELog.log
The contents of MyParameters.ini will be:
You can read more about the options in the ReadmeMSDE2000A.htm file (which is a part of the extraction process)
Now, double click the InstallMSDEWithMyParameters.bat file, and it will be off to the races.
You’ll notice that your sa password will be "sapassword". You can alter this if you’d like, but make it something you can remember, because you’re dead in the water without it.
I’d reboot after the install, so the MSSQLSERVER services will start up.
Now you have a functional, local, legal development server.
You main tool of trade will be osql.exe. Google it, and you’ll find more info.
While MSDE is free, Microsoft makes you jump thru some hoops to use it. They really want you to buy the full version. But the hoops are much better than using Access for any decent sized relational database.