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Install Microsoft SQL Server Express

You can install and use Microsoft SQL Server Express on your Windows server without paying any license fees.

If your Windows server has Plesk, we instead recommend installing SQL Express directly through Plesk.

  1. Connect to your Windows server with Remote Desktop Connection.
  2. From the Start Menu, open Internet Explorer.

    If you haven't already done so, you probably need to enable file downloads in Internet Explorer.

  3. Paste one of the following URLs into the address bar for the version you want to use, then press Enter. All versions are compatible with Windows Server 2008 and 2012.
    Version Download Link
    SQL Server 2008 http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/4/B/04BE03CD-EAF3-4797-9D8D-2E08E316C998/SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU.exe
    SQL Server 2012 http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/D/D/8DD7BDBA-CEF7-4D8E-8C16-D9F69527F909/ENU/x64/SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU.exe
    SQL Server 2014 http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/A/E/EAE6F7FC-767A-4038-A954-49B8B05D04EB/ExpressAndTools%2064BIT/SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU.exe

    If you have trouble downloading the file, you should enable file downloads in Internet Explorer.

  4. Scroll down and click Run to begin the download of SQL Server.
  5. If you are using a new server with Windows Server 2012, you will need to restart your server first to install some .NET updates.

  6. Click Yes to begin the install.
  7. Click New installation or add features to an existing installation.
  8. Agree to the terms for SQL Server, and proceed with the rest of the steps in the install wizard. During the wizard, make sure you perform the following steps:
    • When you get to the section for Server Configuration, make sure to toggle SQL Server Browser to Automatic.
    • When you get to the section for Database Engine Configuration, select Mixed Mode for authentication, and enter a master password for your SQL Server install.

Except for the install steps listed above, most users can simply click Next through all the other install options. If you have questions about the different options, please refer to the Official Microsoft SQL Server documentation.

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