1. The SQLClient logic opens a connection to the parent SQL Server Express instance (.\SQLEXPRESS by default).
2. SQL Server Express detects that the User Instance option is set and that there is no user instance for this user.
3. The master and msdb system database files are copied to the user's directory. In Sally's case, the directory will be:
C:\Documents and Settings\Sally\Local Settings\Application
Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server Data\SQLEXPRESS
These files are copied from a template directory that is created when the parent instance is installed. When the user instance starts, the tempdb, log, and trace files are written to this same user directory.
4. The parent instance impersonates the Windows user who is opening the connection and starts a copy of sqlservr.exe running as that user. The location of the system databases is passed as a parameter. The name of the instance is generated. For example: 69651E0A-5550-46.
5. A Named Pipe database connection is established for the new instance. The name is based on the instance name. For example:
6. The database file specified in the AttachDBFilename parameter is attached to the new instance and named with the full path to the file:
7. The name of the named pipe is passed back to the SqlClient that is opening the connection.
8. When SqlClient receives the name of the connection, it closes the connection to the parent instance. It opens a new connection to the user instance using the returned named pipe name.
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