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Edition upgrade from SQL Server 2008 R2 Express to Standard Edition

In this article we will take you through the detailed steps on how to do edition upgrade of SQL Server 2008 R2. Edition upgrade of 2008 R2 is quite different from what we used to do in SQL Server 2005, where we have to start installer from command prompt by passing the parameter SKUUPGRADE=1. In 2008 R2 there is no need to start installer from command prompt. Now we have a Edition upgrade option in 2008 R2 installer, under Maintenance tab.

In the below steps we will be upgrading SQL Server 2008 R2 express edition to 2008 R2 standard edition.

Steps to do SQL Server 2008 R2 Edition Upgrade:-

1) Open SQL Server 2008 R2 installer and go to Maintenance tab in the installer window. Here click on Edition Upgrade option. New window will open.

2) Installer will check for setup support rules. Fix any failed rule and then move to next step.

3) Here enter the product key and click next.

4) Accept licensing term and conditions and move to next step.

5) Installer will find all the installed SQL Server instances on this server. Select the one you want to upgrade and click on next.

6) Installer will check for edition upgrade rules. Again fix the issue if any rule has failed. Once there are no failures, move to next step.

You can view the detailed report by clicking on ‘view detailed report’ or you can find this report at path C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20110916_132511\SystemConfigurationCheck_Report.htm

7) Review the summary and click on upgrade.

8) Incase you hit this below issue, refer here


9) Upgrade completed successfully.


  1. Charmaine says:

    Hi, I have a question, after upgrading from sql server 2008 r2 express edition to the standard edition how will I check if there are changes made? Since the set up says “Successful…Complete” on the last window. After checking it I still have the same instance name as SQLServer\Express and my server agent is still disabled. Is it normal?

    1. admin says:

      SQLServer\Express is the default instance name when you install SQL Express edition. Now when you upgraded it to any other edition, Instance name will still remain the same.
      Are you able to enable SQL Server agent from Properties? Ideally you should be, if upgrade is a success.

  2. George Leboukas says:

    Do i need to download the sql server standard 2008r2 installation package or not

    1. admin says:

      yes it is needed

  3. Seb says:

    After upgrade I can’t create new web applications (unsupported version) on my SharePoint instance, how can I fix this ?

  4. Craig Edmonds says:

    Hi, really great article.

    So to confirm, I currently have: MSSQL 2008 R2 Express edition.

    I have just bought MSSQL 2008 Standard (not r2).

    Is the upgrade (its a downgrade kind of I think) process the same?

    Really appreciate your advice.

    1. admin says:

      Downgrade from higher to lower version is not possible. You may have to do a fresh install of 2008 and migrate DB’s from 2008 R2.

  5. Kathy Huang says:

    Can I also use this process to upgrade from SQL 2008SP3 express to SQL2008R2 Standard edition?

    1. admin says:

      I don’t think this will work but you can give a try. Else upgrade to 2008R2 express and then follow the steps in this article.

  6. Joe says:

    I have data files detached from SQL 2008 R2 Express. How can I attached the data in to a new install SQL 2008 Standard?