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Upgrade SQL Server Express

You can upgrade a Microsoft SQL Server Express instance using the SQL Server Express installation wizard.

The version of SQL Server Express delivered with ArcGIS has changed over time. The following lists the version of SQL Server Express delivered with each version of ArcGIS:

  • ArcGIS 9.2: SQL Server 2005 Express Service Pack (SP) 2
  • ArcGIS 9.3: SQL Server 2005 Express with Advanced Services
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 and 10: SQL Server 2008 SP1 Express with Advanced Services
  • ArcGIS 10.1 through 10.2.2: SQL Server 2008 R2 Express with Advanced Services
  • ArcGIS 10.3 through 10.4.1: SQL Server 2012 Express
  • ArcGIS 10.5 through 10.7.1: SQL Server 2014 Express
  • ArcGIS 10.8.x: SQL Server 2017 Express

A SQL Server setup wizard is provided as part of the database server installation files you download from My Esri. You have the option to run the SQL Server installation included with this setup to upgrade your existing instance (database server). Or you can obtain a supported version of SQL Server Express from Microsoft and run it to upgrade your instance.

See Microsoft documentation for instructions on upgrading SQL Server.

Before you upgrade, be sure to create backups of all your geodatabases.


Starting with 10.8, ArcGIS no longer supports SQL Server Express 32-bit installations. To migrate to a 64-bit database server, move your geodatabases from the 32-bit database server to a 64-bit database server.

To avoid breaking saved database server connections in your maps, do the following:

  1. Create backups or detach all of the geodatabases from the 32-bit database server.
  2. Uninstall the 32-bit instance of SQL Server Express.
  3. Configure a 64-bit instance as a database server on the same machine. Use the same instance name for the new instance as you used for the 32-bit instance you're replacing.
  4. Restore or attach the geodatabases to the 64-bit database server.

If you cannot replace the 32-bit installation with a 64-bit installation of the same name, you can configure a 64-bit instance with a different name or on a different machine; however, you and other users of the data will have to update data source information for your maps after you move the geodatabases to the new instance.