When choosing free database software for Windows 7, many people choose a Microsoft product, most notably Microsoft’s SQL Server Express Edition, but of course there are other products that should be mentioned here:

Others prefer IBM’s DB2 Express-C or Oracle Database 10g Express Edition. However, the most popular free database software for Windows 7 is MySQL, an open source program licensed under the GNU General Public License.

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Databases Owned by Oracle

Oracle offers a large variety of database software packages, but until recently they didn’t have a foothold in the open source freeware market. This changed when they purchased Sun Microsystems, the owner of MySQL. In addition to MySQL, Oracle offers their own free database software for Windows 7, known as Oracle Database 10g Express Edition. The company also owns a number of other database software, including TimesTen, BerkeleyDB, and Oracle Rdb.

Oracle Database 10g Express Edition

Oracle Database 10g Express Edition (as known as Oracle Database XE) is free to develop, deploy and distribute. It is easy to use, fast to download, simple to administer, and has a small footprint. It is a great starter program for DBAs, developers, ISVs, hardware vendors, and those in the field of education. It supports PHP, Java, .NET, and open source applications. Oracle Database XE allows for one database per machine, and will use one CPU, 4 GB of user data, and up to 1 GB of memory. Support for the program is provided in the discussion forum.

MySQL Community Edition

MySQL is by far the most popular open source database freeware. It is open source and licensed under the GNU General Public License, which allows users to tweak the coding to fit their specific needs. The MySQL Community Edition includes multiple storage engines, triggers, views, and information schema. It has MySQL Replication, MySQL Connectors, MySQL Replication, and MySQL Partitioning. The program does not come with its own graphic user interface, but users can download the NAVICAT for MySQL GUI if they need.

IBM DB2 Express-C

IBM DB2 Express-C is ideal for small businesses and companies with multiple branches. The program is a free version of the regular DB2 data server, and includes all the basic necessities found on the more expensive packages. It can be downloaded and deployed at no charge and features a quick set up and self-managing capabilities. Business partners and ISVs that wish to distribute IBM DB2 Express-C must register with IBM before doing so. Customer support is not available with the freeware, but can be purchased for a small yearly subscription fee.

Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition

Microsoft SQL server

SQL Server Express is a free edition of SQL Server ideal for developing and powering desktop, web and small server applications

Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most popular options for Windows 7 users, but it comes at a cost. However, Microsoft also offers the Express Edition, which features the same database engine as the other versions of the software without the price tag. The program is compatible with all editions of SQL Server and SQL Azure and supports 10 GB of storage for each database. It also features a graphical management tool.

There are a number of options for anyone looking for free database software for Windows 7. Most of the programs are low end versions of software available for purchase, and they offer all the basics needed for a small business without an accompanying price tag.