SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 19.1 and Recent Changes, Part 2
Published Jun 12 2023 09:13 AM 9,929 Views

This is the second post in a series discussing changes between SSMS 18.12.1 and SSMS 19, and new functionality in SSMS 19.1.  You can view the first post covering Microsoft.Data.Sqlclient and MSAL here.  It turns out some of you do read the SSMS release notes (we appreciate it!) and were quick to ask questions about a few items in the “What’s new” section.  This post will provide more details about selected changes.


Removal of the SQL Vulnerability Assessment in SSMS 19.1

Since SQL Server 2012, the SQL Vulnerability Assessment in SSMS has provided a way to scan and report on possible security misconfigurations on your SQL Server databases in a disconnected manner.  This capability has been consolidated into a comprehensive database security package called Microsoft Defender for SQL, which allows you to perform vulnerability assessment scans and identify real-time attacks on your database at scale across cloud and on-premises resources.  Defender for SQL provides customers with the latest updates to scan rules and updated threat protection algorithms.


Conversely, the SQL Vulnerability Assessment in SSMS does not consume findings from Defender for Cloud, nor can findings from local scans be uploaded.  Additionally, the SQL Vulnerability Assessment on SSMS does not receive updates in real time, which may cause inconsistencies compared to the updated findings from Defender for Cloud.  To prevent further confusion and inconsistencies in customers’ database security experiences, we have removed the SQL Vulnerability Assessment from SSMS as of version 19.1.  While SQL Vulnerability Assessment remains available in older SSMS versions, it is recommended to use Microsoft Defender for SQL to evaluate your environment’s security configuration, regardless of your SSMS or SQL version.  For additional information please see Enable Microsoft Defender for SQL servers on machines and Scan your SQL servers for vulnerabilities.


SSMS startup time

We have heard complaints, for months, about the startup time for SSMS.  Between 18.12.1 and 19.0 we made a few changes, and in 19.1 we delayed initializing the output window to also reduce startup time.  Some of you noticed!  Glenn Berry completed a round of testing and documented findings in his SSMS 19.1 Performance Improvements blog post.  We are hoping to also gain improvement when we get to SSMS 20, so know that our work is not yet done.


SSMS Version

There have been rumblings from users about the discrepancy between SSMS version, the version number listed in the Help menu, and the product version displayed in the file properties.  For example, in SSMS 18.12.1, the version in Help >> About is 15.0.18424.0, and the product version on ssms.exe is 2019.150.18424.0.


The version in Help >> About has traditionally been tied to the SQL Server build number.  When you connect to a server from SSMS, you can see the build:


Screenshot of SQL Server version displayed in Object ExplorerScreenshot of SQL Server version displayed in Object Explorer


The 16.0 in the SQL build is for SQL Server 2022.  Thus, the Help >> About version for SSMS 19.0.2 started with 16, and the file version for ssms.exe contained 160.  Folks found this confusing and there were some companies that reported this was a problem for audits.


Good news! We’ve addressed that in SSMS 19.1.  Within Help >> About the version is, and the product version for ssms.exe is  We hope this version alignment will reduce frustration for users.


Note: If you upgraded from 19.0.2 to 19.1 and do not see the correct product version for ssms.exe, you need to uninstall and reinstall.  This is a known, documented issue that we will address in the next release.


New PowerShell options

Version 22 of the SQL PowerShell (SQLPS) module was released in March, and there is a vibrant PowerShell community within the greater SQL community.  To better support folks who launch SQLPS from SSMS, there are new configuration options available on the Commands pane under Tools >> Options >> SQL Server Object Explorer:


Screenshot of new PowerShell Options in SSMS 19.1Screenshot of new PowerShell Options in SSMS 19.1


These settings are documented on the Options page and allow users to open the desired SQLPS environment right from SSMS.



There are additional features in SSMS 19.1 which will be covered in the next post, and we’ll close out this one with a reminder that Azure Data Studio is installed with SSMS by default.  If you’re not familiar with ADS, or haven’t used it in a while, we encourage you to try it out.  We’ve made significant improvements, all detailed in the release notes, and we will continue to add core operational functionality (e.g., user management, database and server management) in the coming months. 


Those of you that have used SSMS for years may believe ADS is not the tool for you.  That may be true.  But it may be the right tool for team members who are new to SQL, or Azure, or those who focus on development.  We added the installation of Azure Data Studio with SSMS to support an easy transition from SSMS over to ADS for functionality only available in ADS, and we will continue to create new entry points for relevant features (e.g., migrations).  However, if you do not want Azure Data Studio on your machine, you can install SSMS using a command line and include the option DoNotInstallAzureDataStudio=1.

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