Installing Oracle XE 21c for USoft

  • 25 November 2021
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This article tells you how to install Oracle XE 21c for USoft.

This article is for developers who want to create a local USoft sandbox installation on top of a free Oracle version.

We have NOT yet tried and tested Oracle 21c for Production environments (as you can see here). In client projects, use Oracle 19c instead.


Unset environment variables

Temporarily unset any ORACLE_HOME and TNS_ADMIN environment variables you may have set. You need to unset these at the system level.

Remove existing XE installation

There must not be an existing Oracle Database Express Edition Service (XE Service) on your machine left from any previous install. If there is, use Control Panel, Remove Programs, and remove this first.

Ensure you have Administrator privileges

The user as whom you are logged on to the OS must be a direct member of the Administrators group. Being a member of some group that is itself member of the Administrators group is not sufficient.

If you are logged in as a domain user, make sure you are on a network that can reach the domain server. For example, if you usually use a VPN to reach your domain server, make sure you have this VPN turned on. Alternatively, you can create a local user, add that user to the local Administrators group, and then log on and install as that local user.

Oracle installation

Download Oracle 21g

Go to:

Click the appropriate download link. Wait for the ZIP file to download to your computer, then unzip it. Find the unzipped "setup.exe" file.

Prepare for supplying SYS password

You are about to walk through an easy installation wizard. Simply accept defaults wherever possible, but be prepared that Oracle will ask you to provide an initial password for the SYS, SYSTEM and PDBADMIN accounts.

For this password, USoft suggests you use “manager” (all-lowercase) if secrecy is not a must, for example, if you just want a local USoft sandbox installation on top of a free Oracle database. This helps you later, because “manager” is also the default programmed password in some of the quick-start install dialogs that USoft provides, for example when you call the ublendit newudevelop utility.

Case-sensitivity of Oracle user names and passwords requires some consideration.

User names

The following 2 statements create a user with the same, case-insensitive, user name. This ties in with the general principle that the SQL language is case-insensitive:

create user demo_user ...

Even with the first statement, the created user can be referred to as DEMO_USER: this is what case-insensitivity is all about. Such case-insensitive user names are still the norm in SQL tools generally, and also in USoft. Furthermore, it is general practice to refer to these names by all-uppercase strings, just like it is customary to write SQL statements in all-uppercase letters.

Oracle does support case-sensitive user names: you need to double-quote the name when you create it. But they are not often used. Third-party APIs could well have difficulty with case-sensitive user names.


In contrast with user names, passwords are case-sensitive automatically, so that the following statements create different passwords:

create user demo_user identified by demo_user ...

Oracle did not support case-sensitive passwords prior to version 11g, so any tool that predates 11g was not built with that possibility in mind.

Install Oracle 21c

Double-click “setup.exe” to start the installation wizard.

The installation could take 15-30 minutes depending on characteristics of your system.

The final screen looks something like this:

Test the XEPDB1 database connect string alias

In a CMD box, type the command:

> tnsping XEPDB1

The response tells you whether the XEPDB1 alias can actually be translated into a full database connect string. If so, you see a mention such as:

OK (20 msec)

If you cannot see this success message, open the "tnsnames.ora" file. This file is in the same directory as the "sqlnet.ora” file The full filepath to this directory is included in the response given by tnsping XEPDB1. Make sure that "tnsnames.ora” contains an instruction such as the following. You may find you have to replace "XE" by "XEPDB1" to get this instruction:


If you have difficulty getting the XEPDB1 alias to work, you could always fall back on the explicit database connect string when you set up USoft (in the steps below). Instead of the alias, simply use the connect string itself as the value of the Database property in USoft Binder:


Ensure authentication by NTLM

You must ensure that the Windows Networks LAN Manager authentication service (NTLM) is active, in order to avoid error ORA-12638: Credential retrieval failed. Details are here. Take these steps:

  1. Find the “sqlnet.ora” file. The filepath leading to this file is in the response given by tnsping XEPDB1.
  2. In this file, add the following setting:

Explore listener process

This step is optional. In a CMD box, type the command:

> lsnrctl stat

The response gives you detailed information about the listener process that handles calls to the database.

Explore pluggable databases (PDBs) in the container database (CDB)

This step is optional. From the command line, run the Oracle SQL*Plus tool and log on to the container database (CDB) as follows:

> sqlplus

> Enter user-name: / as sysdba

 This works because the person who installed the database softwere is always allowed to connect as sysdba by a single-sign-on scheme: his Windows username/password is used for access to Oracle ("OS authentication").

In SQL*Plus, a forward slash with no user name in front of it and no password following it is used to connect using OS authentication. The words "as sysdba” are a suffix that cause the user to log on with special administrator privileges.

 By way of exploration, issue this query:



"PDB$SEED" is a template that the container database (CDB) can use to create new pluggable databases (PDBs). Contrast "PDB$SEED" with the actual PDBs it helps create:

  • "PDB$SEED" is system-supplied, but a PDB is user-created.
  • "PDB$SEED" is a generic facility, but a PDB contains the data and code required for specific features.
  • You cannot create or modify objects in "PDB$SEED", but you can in a PDB.
  • There is always exactly 1 "PDB$SEED" but you can have 0, 1 or multiple PDBs.

Setting up for USoft

Create a database account for USoft in XEPDB1

Log on as user SYS of the XEPDB1 pluggable database that the Oracle installation process has created by default. Create a DEMO_USER database account for USoft:

SQL> connect SYS/manager@XEPDB1 as sysdba

User created.

Grant succeeded.

Set up access to USoft

Start USoft Binder. USoft Binder is the usbinder.exe programme in the \bin64 directory of your USoft 10.0 installation.

Create and save a new USoft Binder file called "DEMO_USER.usb".

In this file, from the menu, choose File, Project Properties, Database and enter:

Password demo_user
RDBMS Oracle
Database XEPDB1

Save work. You are now ready to create the USoft repository. The next 2 steps are:

1. Right-mouse-click on the Authorizer item, choose Create Tables, press OK.

2. Right-mouse-click on the Definer item, choose Create Tables, press OK. Now double-click the Definer item to open the USoft development platform.

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