SQL Server Express

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Microsoft SQL Server Express is a version of Microsoft's SQL Server relational database management system that is free to download, distribute and use. It comprises a database specifically targeted for embedded and smaller-scale applications. The product traces its roots to the Microsoft Database Engine (MSDE) product, which was shipped with SQL Server 2000. The "Express" branding has been used since the release of SQL Server 2005.


SQL Server Express provides many of the features of the paid, full versions of Microsoft SQL Server database management system. However it has technical restrictions that make it unsuitable for some large-scale deployments. Differences in the Express product include:

  • Maximum database size of 10 GB per database in SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2012, and 2008 R2 Express[1] (4 GB for SQL Server 2008 Express and earlier; compared to 2 GB in the former MSDE). The limit applies per database (log files excluded); but in some scenarios users can access more data through the use of multiple interconnected databases.[citation needed]
  • No SQL Server Agent service[2][3]
  • Hardware-utilization limits:
    • Single physical CPU, but multiple cores allowable[4]
    • 1 GB of RAM (runs on a system with any RAM amount, but uses only at most 1 GB)

Unlike the predecessor product, MSDE, the Express product does not include a concurrent workload-governor to "limit performance if the database engine receives more work than is typical of a small number of users."[5]

SQL Server Express includes several GUI tools for database management. These include:

The predecessor product MSDE generally lacked basic GUI management tools,[6]

Features available in SQL Server "Standard" and better editions but absent from SQL Server Express include:


Microsoft makes SQL Server Express available as:

  • An integrated edition with management tools
  • Core database-engine only
  • A SQL Server Express with Advanced Services edition (first introduced relatively late in Q2 2006 compared to the original release) with a reduced-functionality version of SQL Server Reporting Services and with full-text search capabilities

In the Free 2005 Express version, for example, a standard approach to installation options was provided, as follows. Generally, the SQL 2005 Express installers are packaged with the following consistent naming convention:

Has installers for BOTH 32-bit and 64-bit processors, but is a basic install
Has ONLY the installer for 32-bit processors (still the basic install)
Has installers for BOTH 32-bit and 64-bit processors and SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) (2008 R2)
Has the basics and SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) + Reporting and Full Text Queries
Has the basics and SSMSE and Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS)

These optional variants have gone through several service packs (SP), and each SP installer can be used without using the older ones first:

  • Originals of the above files all carry the version number 9.0.1399.6
  • Service Pack 2 (SP2) versions all carry the version number 9.0.3042
  • Service Pack 3 (SP3) versions all carry the version number 9.00.4035
  • Service Pack 4 (SP4) versions all carry the version number 9.00.5000

Version history[edit]

Microsoft SQL Server Express Version History
Version Release date Mainstream Support End Date Extended Support End Date
SQL Server 2005 Express Edition 2005-11-07[7] 2011-04-12[8] 2016-04-12[8]
SQL Server 2008 Express 2009-02-08[9] 2014-07-08[10] 2019-07-09[10]
SQL Server 2008 R2 Express 2010-04-16[11] 2014-07-08[12] 2019-07-09[12]
SQL Server 2012 Express 2012-05-14[13] 2017-07-11[14] 2022-07-12[14]
SQL Server 2014 Express 2014-04-01[15] 2019-07-09[16] 2024-07-09[16]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]