Download SQL Server Express
There's a funny blog post about how to download SQL Server Express from Long Zheng. It surprisingly how complex some companies make downloading things. I've always thought that a giant Download Now button is the best way, but perhaps that's just me?
Downloading SQL Server Express is unnecessarily hard, and it's made harder by the new Microsoft Download Center "download multiple files" interface that doesn't include descriptions or primary file recommendations. It should be a list of links, and you should be able to right click and Save As.
(this short link goes directly to this post)
SQL Server 2019 Express Edition (English):
- Basic (239 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/7/c/1/7c14e92e-bdcb-4f89-b7cf-93543e7112d1/SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe
- Advanced (700 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/7/c/1/7c14e92e-bdcb-4f89-b7cf-93543e7112d1/SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe
- LocalDB (53 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/7/c/1/7c14e92e-bdcb-4f89-b7cf-93543e7112d1/SqlLocalDB.msi
SQL Server 2017 Express Edition (English):
- Core (275 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/E/F/2/EF23C21D-7860-4F05-88CE-39AA114B014B/SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe
- Advanced (710 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/E/F/2/EF23C21D-7860-4F05-88CE-39AA114B014B/SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe
- LocalDB (45 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/E/F/2/EF23C21D-7860-4F05-88CE-39AA114B014B/SqlLocalDB.msi
SQL Server 2016 with SP2 Express Edition (English):
- Core (437 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/4/1/A/41AD6EDE-9794-44E3-B3D5-A1AF62CD7A6F/sql16_sp2_dlc/en-us/SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe
- Advanced (1445 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/4/1/A/41AD6EDE-9794-44E3-B3D5-A1AF62CD7A6F/sql16_sp2_dlc/en-us/SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe
- LocalDB (45 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/4/1/A/41AD6EDE-9794-44E3-B3D5-A1AF62CD7A6F/sql16_sp2_dlc/en-us/SqlLocalDB.msi
SQL Server 2016 with SP1 Express Edition (English):
- Core (411 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/9/0/7/907AD35F-9F9C-43A5-9789-52470555DB90/ENU/SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe
- Advanced (1255 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/9/0/7/907AD35F-9F9C-43A5-9789-52470555DB90/ENU/SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe
- LocalDB (45 MB): https://download.microsoft.com/download/9/0/7/907AD35F-9F9C-43A5-9789-52470555DB90/ENU/SqlLocalDB.msi
I've done the HTTP sniffing and work, and written this blog post in the hopes that it helps you (and I'm bookmarking it for myself, for the future).
Download SQL Server 2017 Express
Download SQL Server Management Studio 17.3
Download SQL Server 2016 Express
*This release of SQL Server no longer bundles tools with SQL Server. Tools are a separate install.
Download SQL Server 2016 Management Studio (August 2017) - 17.2
Download SQL Server Management Studio 17.2 Upgrade Package (upgrades 17.x to 17.2)
Download SQL Server 2016 Management Studio (June 2016 release)
*The installer works for both 32-bit and 64-bit machines and installs Management studio as well as command-line tools needed to manage SQL Server.
Download SQL Server 2014 Express
- You likely just want SQL Server 2014 Express with Tools. This download includes SQL Management Studio.
- Here's just SQL Server 2014 Management Studio
- SQL Server 2014 Express with Advanced Services
Download SQL Server 2012 Express
- You likely just want SQL Server 2012 Express with Tools. This download includes SQL Management Studio.
- Here's just SQL Server 2012 Management Studio
Download SQL Server 2008 Express R2 SP2
- You likely just want SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools. This download includes SQL Management Studio.
- Here's just SQL Server 2008 Management Studio
You can get back here via downloadsqlserverexpress.com. Tell your friends.
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Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Maybe a future blog post on Microsoft Download Center to increase awareness?
People new to dev and more likely to download Express won't know the difference.
Perhaps links should say something like this?
"Want to create your own website?"
"Want to write a cool game that runs within a browser like IE?"
"Want to run an immersive app that will run on your smartphone?"
"Want to see a cool example of what you could do with this?"
I did get the download but it was confusing, still don't get DreamSpark connection either but wasn't interested in finding out either
It's a great tool which is made exactly for that, and it even has sql server express 2008 in it.
SQL 2014 x86 Express with Advanced Services: http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/A/E/EAE6F7FC-767A-4038-A954-49B8B05D04EB/SQLEXPRADV_x86_ENU.exe
Now hopefully I can return to downloading it online as needed.
On numerous occasions I've wasted an hour or two trying to figure this out.
Like @fujiy said, they should fix up the installer next!
I don't understand why they are making this download so complicated...
I bought my computer with Win8 in September last year. I never installed SQL Server and I have this in my Programs and Features list:
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition [ENU]
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Objects
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Setup Support Files
Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Command Line Utilities
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Data-Tier App Framework
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Data-Tier App Framework (x64)
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Management Objects
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Management Objects (x64)
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Native Client
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Setup (English)
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Transact-SQL Compiler Service
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Transact-SQL ScriptDom
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Language Service
Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Express LocalDB
Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Management Objects
Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Management Objects (x64)
Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Transact-SQL Compiler Service
Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Transact-SQL ScriptDom
Microsoft SQL Server 2014 T-SQL Language Service
Microsoft SQL Server Compact 4.0 SP1 x64 ENU
Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools - enu (12.0.40403.0)
Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools 2013
Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools Build Utilities - enu (12.0.40403.0)
Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access
Microsoft SQL Server System CLR Types
Microsoft SQL Server System CLR Types (x64)
Microsoft System CLR Types for SQL Server 2012
Microsoft System CLR Types for SQL Server 2012 (x64)
Microsoft System CLR Types for SQL Server 2014
Microsoft System CLR Types for SQL Server 2014
Maybe somebody can tell the SQL Server guys that it doesn't make sense to list a separate program if you can't use it separately without the other stuff. To install/uninstall features of any program you should use the Change button.
I also don't care about old versions. They could be overwritten with the new version whenever any program installs the newer version.
And the same goes for Microsoft Visual C++ 20xx Redistributable of course. I also have 12 of those.
I am surprised, someone visits marketing site and hope to find a direct link to download, aren't we the techie who should know better?
- Click Downloads at top >> Download center (since I was looking for SQL not Windows/Office which have their own specific links)
- Enter in to the search input: sql server express 2014
- Single result shown - click the circular, down arrow icon button to get the download list of files to appear.
Alternatively I tried:
- Enter in to the search input: sql server express 2014
- In results click the big radio button labelled "Downloads" instead of the current "All" selection.
- Single result shown - click the circular, down arrow button to get the download list of files appear.
It was trivial and natural to do either of the above IMHO. So far so good. The only real thing wrong with it is that you just get the raw file names but even from that I could work it out more or less. Don't know what the MSIs at the top were for.
Looking at the full download page the "Details" section explains clearly what everything is. So if MS combined those details in an expandable section for each file and like your links Scott gave nice link text, i.e. the product title (as in the details) not the filename then I think that would pretty much sort it out.
In the context of the equally heavy handed tentative by the various US justice department to get access to MS servers all over the world, this is becoming a reason for rejecting MS tools and products.
I think a number of MS marketing people should be sent behind the wood shed and shot at dawn. For the good of the company.
For instance, there is no way in W8.1u1 to change a (new) wifi network to private if you have UAC maxed on a non administrator account.
No way, as in no way to get even a credential prompt to fix things.
I tried to report this as some sort of bug / usability problem, got lost in a maze of web pages trying to get me to use my "free / payed support options".
This is bordering on autism.
I'm guessing like the majority of dev's I simply though "this really shouldn't be this hard, should it???" but you've done something about it, whereas I... didn't :)
I search for what I'm looking for and then somehow stumble on to the download page. Then after some time of searching I find the download button. I click it a dialogue pops up with many choices with a list of possible options, of which none seem correct. I close the dialogue. I search for the secret dictionary describing the exe names. Its of course hidden in the minimized detail section on the page (behind the dialog the is in my face). Once I think I find the one I want I either try to remember the name or copy/paste it somewhere. I hit the download button again search for the exe name. Hope I selected the right one, and then download it. Typically I install it then realize I installed the wrong version then start the process over again. That is my typical experience with the download center. It is a tiny bit confusing to say the least. Simple improvement would be longer more descriptive EXE names or descriptions next to them on the dialog box. I would have had no idea WT means "With tools" if your post wouldn't have pointed it out. I think your solution is a good one. I just wish the Download Center did things more like that.
Thanks for making this one tiny corner of the internet a better place.
Even the Roslyn CTP, which is from Dev Div and you'd think might be straightforward, required you to download some stupid download manager in order to install it.
The giant "Download Now" button is a LIE
I've been through the 10-step rigmarole. You've made the world a better place.
Those guys at Microsoft should jump to give you a job... or something.
Then click the "+" beside Details and it will expand to give you details about what the various files are and a description of what you'll find in them.
By the way, you could also just go to
And then type in "SQL Server 2014 Express" in the search box and it will take you straight there.
I guess we're all just too used to being spoon fed ;)
I tried updating SSDT today and this appeared in the log. Error 0x80070002: Failed attempt to download URL: 'http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=329097&clcid=0x409' Goes to http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/A/E/EAE6F7FC-767A-4038-A954-49B8B05D04EB/ENU/x64/SqlLocalDB.msi which is broken atm.
The Microsoft page updated today: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42299 now goes to http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/A/E/EAE6F7FC-767A-4038-A954-49B8B05D04EB/LocalDB%2064BIT/SqlLocalDB.msi now...
Maybe I should get my DBA certification first, but when I go here, click the big red DOWNLOAD button and select the file "MgmtStudio 64BIT\SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe", I get a big old 640 MB self-extracting file. When I run _that_, I get a multiple-menus-deep landing page, which doesn't list "SQL Server Management Studio" anywhere.
I see that among the extracted files, there's a very tempting file called "x64\Setup\SQL_SSMS.MSI", but alas, it won't actually install anything.
Am I stupid?
Thank for doing this and all of the other good stuff you've done for us developers over the years!
Microsoft websites definitely suffer from a lack of adherence to the SRP.
They are clearly built with numerous competing constraints in mind but typically end up being so convoluted and generalised, as to be specifically useless.
The download sites are a classic example. You can eventually get the job done but you have to grit your teeth and clench your buttocks the whole way through and even then you typically only know whether you got the right thing once you've downloaded and installed the wrong thing at least once.
Downloads are, to me, an aspect of search, and Microsoft just doesn't do search very well at all.
So I typically Google for what I want and then have some blog or another point me at the thing I need rather than relying on insanely decontextualised UI that the MS download centre provides.
as already mentioned above, please add a link for the SQLLocalDb.msi files.
2012 SP2: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/67cb8b3e-3d82-47f4-840d-0f12a3bff565
Accessing the software via Download Center is a pain in the...
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Scott: "Who's there?"
Voice: "It's Ed from Legal."