I don't do much work on MS SQL, but a recent project requires I connect to a remote SQL 2008 database, so I went looking for the new version of the SQL Server Management Studio Express program which has worked so well, and so simply, for SQL 2005 databases.

Simple enough, right? Not quite. It didn't take me long on Google to realize i was far from the only one having trouble installing just the Management Studio, without the server components. Microsoft has managed to make this process incredibly unintuitive, including links and download pages which don't actually point you to what you think you are getting.
( for examples, see the google link above... i'm being really nice in this post by comparison!)

The best compromise i could find was the official MS download page, which offers a 160+mb file containing the full database server system. Blog posts mention compatibility issues (Win7 did throw up some warnings of its own when i started the process, so i backed out and kept looking), incomplete installations and the need to run the installer twice so you can 'add' the Management Studio as a component to an existing installation.

Huh? Exactly.

So, anyway...  for those that might be in the same plight... I have the solution!

Go here: http://www.microsoft.com/web/Downloads/platform.aspx and install the MS 'Web Platform Installer'.  Then, when the installer loads up, find the little 'customize' link under the "Database" section, where you can tick the boxes for the components you want to install. ( see image )

Once i got it going, this was actually a slick little installer.
(So finally I have SQL 2008 Management Studio ready to go.
Now, what was i going to use it for?)