Determinging a SQL CE database version

In a recent project we decided to migrate the application’s data engine from SQL CE 3.1 to SQL CE 3.5.  The challenge with this is that the file formats themselves are not compatible and trying to connect to a 3.1 database usign the 3.5 objects will cause an Exception.  3.5 provides a method to upgrade 3.1 database files, but to use it you really need to know that the file is in 3.1 format to begin with.

Of course you could always put in logic to connect and catch the exception and then upgrade, but let’s face it – using exceptions for flow control is a bad practice and any ime it can be avoided it should be. 

Surprisingly, the SQL CE team didn’t give us any mechanism otherwise to determine a database file’s version, so I put together the following (which should work on the desktop as well as the device):

internal enum SSCEVersion

internal static SSCEVersion GetDatabaseVersion(string path)
    uint signature = 0;

    using (FileStream stream = new FileStream(path, FileMode.Open))
        using (BinaryReader reader = new BinaryReader(stream))
            stream.Seek(16, SeekOrigin.Begin);

            signature = reader.ReadUInt32();

    switch (signature)
        case 0x00357b9d: // 3.5
            return SSCEVersion.v3_5;
        case 0x002dd714: // 3.1
            return SSCEVersion.v3_1;
            return SSCEVersion.Unknown;

2 thoughts on “Determinging a SQL CE database version”

  1. I would like to know the next step.

    Obviously, I will be developing with an SQL CE 3.5 (or newer?) engine, and I could run into an older database.

    So, the next question would be how to convert or migrate the database to the newer version.

    Is this more involved?


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