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How to: Install SQL Server Express

This topic describes how to install Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (SQL Server Express). It also identifies the setup options that differ from Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

For local installations, you must run Setup as an administrator. If you install SQL Server from a remote share, you must use a domain account that has read and execute permissions on the remote share.

To install SQL Server Express

  1. To begin installation, double-click sqlexpr.exe.


    SQL Server Express is available as a self-extracting executable file (sqlexpr.exe) from both the Visual Studio 2005 CD and the SQL Server Express Web site. SQLEXPR.EXE installs on x86-based computers and to the 32-bit subsystem (WOW64). For more information, see Hardware and Software Requirements (SQL Server Express)

  2. On the End User License Agreement page, read the license agreement, and then select I accept the licensing terms and conditions check box. Click Next.

  3. SQL Server Component Update runs, installing the software required prior to installing SQL Server Express. For more information about component requirements, click the Help button at the bottom of the page. Click Next.


    .NET Framework 2.0 is not installed when SQL Server Component Update runs, but SQL Server Express Setup requires .NET Framework 2.0 to be installed prior to running the sqlexpr.exe. If .NET Framework 2.0 is not present, you will encounter an error. Make sure that you uninstall all previous versions of .NET Framework and install .NET Framework 2.0. from the .NET Framework 2.0 Download Center before initiating SQL Server Express Setup.

  4. The Welcome to the Microsoft SQL Server Installation Wizard page appears. Click Next.

  5. On the System Configuration Check page, the computer is scanned for potential installation problems. To interrupt the scan, click Stop. To proceed with setup after the scan completes, click Continue.

  6. On the Registration Information page, enter information in the Name and Company text boxes. Click Next.

    1. Because SQL Server Express is free, there is no Product Key text box on this page.
    2. If you select the Hide advanced configuration options check box, the Service Account, Collation Settings, Instance Name, and User Instances pages do not appear during setup.
  7. On the Feature selection page, select the program features to install and click Next.


    There is no Custom Feature Selection page in SQL Server Express Setup. Instead, the Feature Selection page lets you select the features that you want to be installed. Expand a feature to view its subfeatures by clicking the "+" symbol.

  8. On the Instance Name page, select a Default instance or a Named instance for your installation. If you select Default instance, an existing default instance will be upgraded. If you select Named Instance, specify an instance name or the default named instance of SQLExpress is used. Click Next.

    Click Installed Instances to view a list of installed SQL Server Express instances and components on the computer where SQL Server Express Setup is running. The installed instance details pane will display upgrade options for installed instances.

    SQL Server Express Setup checks whether the instance name SQLExpress exists at startup.

    1. If SQLExpress instance exists, then by default, the Instance name page appears.
    2. If SQLExpress instance does not exist, then by default, the Instance name page is hidden from the user. However, if you clear the Hide Advanced configuration options check box on the Registration Information page, the Instance name dialog box appears at all times.
  9. The Service Account page lets you assign local system account or a domain user account to SQL Server service. This page does not appear if you select the Hide advanced configuration options check box

    1. Select Use a Local System account that does not require a password to connect to SQL Server on the same computer, and then click Next.

    2. Select Use a Domain User account, enter the Username, Password, and the Domain name, and then click Next.


      The Start services at the end of SQL Server Setup checkbox is selected by default for SQL Server Express. It automatically starts the SQL Server service when the operating system starts.

  10. On the Authentication Mode page, specify the security mode used to connect to your instance of SQL Server. If you select Windows Authentication, Setup creates an sa account that is disabled by default. To activate the sa account after Setup completes, see the How to: Change Server Authentication Mode and ALTER LOGIN (Transact-SQL) topics in SQL Server 2005 Books Online. If you select Mixed Mode Authentication you must set strong passwords for all SQL Server logins. Enter and confirm a strong sa logon password. Click Next.


    For security reasons, SQL Server Express does not automatically start the SQL Server Browser service. If your applications have to use SQL Server Browser, you must manually start the service or change its startup option. For more information, see SQL Server Browser ServiceHow to: Start and Stop the SQL Server Browser Service in SQL Server 2005 Books Online.

  11. On the Collations Settings page, change the default Collation designator and sort order only if you must match collation settings in another instance of SQL Server or in another computer. Select SQL collations to match the sort order settings in earlier versions of SQL Server. Click Next. This page does not appear if you select the Hide advanced configuration options check box.


    The Customize for each service account drop-down box is removed because in SQL Server Express the service should always point to SQL Server.

  12. On the User Instances page, specify if you want to generate a separate instance of the Database Engine for non-administrator users. By default, user instance functionality is enabled. To turn off user instances, clear the check box. This page does not appear if you select the Hide advanced configuration options check box. Click Next.

  13. On the Error and Usage Report Setting page, select whether to turn on error reporting and usage reporting for SQL Server and its components. By default, error reporting is turned on. To turn off error reporting, clear the check box. Click Next.

  14. On the Ready to Install page, click Install to finish installing SQL Server.

  15. On the Setup Progress page, you can monitor installation progress as setup proceeds. Click Next.

  16. On the Completing the Microsoft SQL Server Installation Wizard page, you can view the setup summary log by clicking the link provided on this page. To complete the SQL Server Installation Wizard, click Finish.

In addition to using graphical user interface, you can install SQL Server Express by using the same command line parameters that are used to install SQL Server 2005. For more information about command line parameters, see "Running Setup from the Command Prompt" in SQL Server 2005 Books Online.

SQL Server Express also supports the DISABLENETWORKPROTOCOLS property to enable network access during installation. For more information, see How to: Enable Network Access During Installation (SQL Server Express).

See Also


How to: Uninstall SQL Server Express


Before You Install SQL Server Express

Help and Information

Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance