VS2015 will not recognise DDEX providers


I have a VS2015 (class library) project into which I have added an Entity Framework Data Model (EDMX) using the menu option on your "SQL Server Compact/SQLite Toolbox" ( window against a SQL Compact 3.5 database I have connected. The model generated fine and compiles without problem.

When I try to update the model from within the diagram, I get an error...
An exception of type 'System.ArgumentException' occurred while attempting to update from the database. The exception message is: 'Unable to convert runtime connection string to its design time equivalent. The libraries required to enable Visual Studio to communicate with the database for design purposes (DDEX provider) are not installed for provider 'System.Data.SqlServerCe.3.5'. Connection string: Data Source=D:\folder\folder\folder\database.sdf'.
I have tried installing the DDEX providers using the button you provide at the bottom of the "About" box ("Register DDEX Providers") but when I then restart Visual Studio that same "About" box shows...
  • SQL Server Compact 3.5 in GAC - Yes 3.5.8080.0
  • SQL Server Compact 3.5 DbProvider - Yes
  • SQL Server Compact 3.5 DDEX provider - No
  • SQL Server Compact 3.5 Simple DDEX provider - No
  • SQL Server Compact 3.5 Engine test - PASS!
It would appear therefore that the providers are no longer being recognised. The only way that I can update diagrams is to delete them and then recreate them from your toolbox which is extremely inconvenient (no more than a week or two ago I was able to edit diagrams without problem - the only thing that I can think of that could be a problem is that the November Windows 10 update was installed and/or there may have been updates to the .NET Framework via Windows Update).

I am using the 'nuget' packages EntityFramework 6.1.3 and EntityFramework.SqlServerCompact.Legacy 6.1.3, targeting .NET 4.5 and developing on Windows 10 Professional (November 2015 update installed). My Visual Studio (Enterprise) version is 14.0.23107.0 D14REL (Update 1 RC NOT installed).

Can you help?

Closed Dec 5, 2015 at 12:12 PM by ErikEJ
Never heard back... Feel free to reopen if you have feedback


MartinRobins wrote Nov 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Been looking through the source code, and I can confirm that the registry entries that are created by the call to Helpers.DataConnectionHelper.RegisterDDEXProviders(true); all appear to be present and correct. I have also found the SqlCeToolbox.DDEX35.dll and SqlCeToolbox.DDEX40.dll libraries within ".\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\14.0\Extensions\2div4gw0.cb3".

gacutil /l SqlCeToolbox.DDEX35 and gacutil /l SqlCeToolbox.DDEX40 report no items so these assemblies are not in the GAC.


wrote Nov 24, 2015 at 3:25 PM

wrote Nov 24, 2015 at 3:26 PM

ErikEJ wrote Nov 26, 2015 at 3:06 PM

I think maybe your SQL Server Compact installation could be corrupt for some reason. Try to re-install SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2, and remember to install both the x64 and x86 runtime MSIs.

wrote Dec 5, 2015 at 12:12 PM