Joe Webb Blog

Musing and observations about SQL Server, other technogies, and sometimes just life in general

Creating a Notification Services Instance

Even though SQL Server 2008 does not include the Notification Services (SSNS) component, it seems that companies still consider SSNS a very viable option for upcoming notification projects. I'm planning to write a blog or SQLTeam article in the near future to address some questions I'm frequently asked.

In the meantime, if you have decided to create a new notification application using SSNS, I'm reposting a short tutorial I created a couple of years ago. It's been modified and updated slightly.

In this blog we'll go through the simple steps that can be used to create a new SQL Server 2005 Notification Services instance using Management Studio. I've included a series of images to help illustrate the process.

Step 1:

After you've installed SQL Server 2005 and Notification Services, you'll find a Notification Services folder in the Object Explorer. Initially this will be empty since there are no instances defined. By right-clicking on the folder you'll expose a context menu that allows you to create a new instance. This is illustrated in Figure 1.


Figure 1 - Creating a new instance.

Step 2:

Click the New Notification Services Instance menu item on the context menu to open a New Notification Services Instance dialog window. This window allows you to select the Instance Configuration File for the instance. Click the Browse button to navigate to the file you've created. You do not have to select the Application Definition Files; they are defined in the Instance Configuration File. Click Ok to create the instance. Figure 2 depicts the New Notification Services Instance dialog window.


Figure 2 - Selecting the ICF.

Step 3:

If everything is configured correctly in your ICF (Instance Configuration File), a new instance is created. You can watch the progress and examine the final results in a dialog window as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3 - Examining the results.

Step 4:

After the instance is created, it may be registered by right-clicking the instance in Management Studio and selecting Tasks, Register as demonstrated in Figure 4.


Figure 4 - Registering the instance.

This will open a Register Instance dialog windows that allows you to configure the service account for the Windows Service and its authentication credentials for SQL Server 2005. The Register Instance dialog window is shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5 - Specifying credentials.

After clicking Ok to register the instance, progress will be reported in the Registering Instance window shown in Figure 6.


Figure 6 - Examining the registration progress.

Step 5:

Next Management Studio may be used to enable the instance as shown in Figure 7.


Figure 7 - Enabling the instance.

Step 6:

Finally Figure 8 depicts how Management Studio may be used to start the Windows service.


Figure 8 - Starting the instance.

And there you have it; if everything has gone well you have a functioning SQL Server 2005 Notification Services instance running on your computer. If you've encountered an error along the way, the progress dialog windows generally provide enough information for you be start troubleshooting the ICF.

If you're a command line junkie or just prefer the predictable results of scripting out the steps, don't worry, NSControl is still around in SQL Server 2005 Notification Services. But it sure is nice to have a graphical method, too.


kick it on

Legacy Comments

Niaz Hussain Jagirani
re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
Dear Joe Webb,

Thank you very much for giving golden information, i have lost my 8 hours to find like this, i hope this will work when i will use it.

i am new in XML so please if you have any information to create files as needed in Notification Service.

I appreciate your work.


Niaz Hussain

Joe Webb
re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
I'm glad you found the post useful!!! Thanks for letting!

Before I lost my blog at another site, I had accrued 3+ years worth of blogs and tutorials primarily focusing on SSNS. I'm still trying to recover them.

In the meantime, I'll post some links to some other resources. Look for that post in the coming days.

Thanks again for the feedback!


Latiful Khan
re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
How do I create that SSNS configuration file?

Joe Webb
re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
Hi Latiful -

Thanks for reading the blog.

At first glance creating the Instance Configuration File (ICF) and Application Definition File (ADF) can seem a bit daunting. But once you understand the concepts and terminology, creating a highly scalable notification application is rather straightforward.

But the topic is broader than I'll have room to address in this comment section. So, I'll create a blog posting or two to highlight some of the concepts.

In the meantime, I'd encourage you to go through the walk-throughs in Books Online. I've also got some sample ICF's and ADF's available for download on my home page. They are from various presentations I've done over the years. Here's a link:



re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
Thanks for providing some of the most concise info on SSNS. Coming from a general architecture and VB/C# background, it is a difficult concept for me to explain to our SQL Server DBA's.

Designing enterprise, event-based services has a lot of value for me, and I think there is a lot of value here.

Thanks again!

re: Creating a Notification Services Instance

thanks for you explains;

please am just confused fro something;

Explain this to me:

if all part of my Notification Service System are on the same server what will be the name of the right provider name (<ProviderName>SqlPrEP</ProviderName> ) in ADF.xml file.


<!-- Event Providers
- <Providers>
- <HostedProvider>
- <Schedule>
- <Arguments>
- <Argument>
<Value>SELECT PrId, PrTitle, PdfFileName, PrDate, PrType from ABCMotorworks.dbo.vwCurrentPressReleases where PrId not in (select PrId from PrChron)</Value>
- <Argument>
- <!-- Generator information
- <Generator>
- <!-- Distributors information
- <Distributors>
- <Distributor>
- <!-- Application Execution Settings

jayant das
re: Creating a Notification Services Instance

Great article for notification servises sql 2005

Jayant das

re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
Thanks we tried this too because we had some issues on our jagdwaffen kaufen site. After we changed some of the SQL settings it worked great again, thanks for the good help here.

re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
First thanks for the golden and precious information about SSNS.

can you please provide some video or complete tutorial on it..

with regds

Mark Landry
re: Creating a Notification Services Instance
Any idea how to get the Notification Services folder to appear in SSMS 2008 Object Explorer tree as it does in 2005?

I'm using NS 2005 SP3 installed on a SS2008 database. So far I've used nscontrol commands to configure and deploy NS but it would be nice to also have the SSMS graphical interface.