What alternatives are there for not using SQL express in VB app with a small database?

I have a VB 2005 app that utilizes a small database. I don't want to use SQL Express, because I do not want to have to distribute it for such a small database. What options are available?

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DhaestConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you don't mind security, performance, ... there are a few options
1. Use a access-database as background
2. Use xml-files as a database
3. Put everyting into flat-files
adriankohwsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Use Access 2003 Database will do. Setup is easy since there's no need for database installation, just compile your application with the Access Database File.
Or another approach...   you can use SQL CE (compact edition).   (The name of this product has changed so many times, it makes your head spin... SQL Everywhere, SQL Mobile Edition, etc)

It doesn't require that you install any run-time parts on the client PC (other than a DLL that gets deployed with your application).

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Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Hi Graye,

I guess the logical question would be, what's the major difference between SQL CE (compact edition) and the regular SQL Express version? In other words, what can't I do with the "compact edition" that I can with the "express edition".

Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Hi Dhaest and Adriankohws,

XML and flat files are not an option.  However, Access 2003 is an option I can try. Why do you say "If you don't mind security"... is Access 2003 not a secure option.  -- I wouldn't want the data to be accessed without my application via the Access application itself, so couldn't I use passwords to protect my data from curious eyes?  

Also, is there an any major downside to using Access 2003 vs SQL Express?

For a comparison between access 2003 and sql express, see the following article
SQL Server Express vs. Access for small-business applications

SQL Server Express 2005 vs. JET
Mr. Dhaest mentioned about security. Yes, of course it's not as secured as SQL Express. But if you are talking about stopping a normal layman from accessing, yes, you can input a password with Access 2003. Maybe what Mr. Dhaest was talking about is like "auditing", you can't create database users and know who logged on and what they did whereas SQL Express can achieved.

As compared: generally, you can say Access 2003 must not exceed 2GB of data and even 500MB database in Access will be very slow in performance depending how to retrieve information whereas SQL Express can hold up to 4GB and no performance issue. Generally, without data size issue, SQL Express is also much faster than Access 2003.
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