Upgrading SQL Server 2005 Express to 2008 R2 Express (for Backup Exec 2012)

I was slightly surprised to see a typical install of Symantec Backup Exec 2012 (this being the 64-bit SP1 version installed onto Windows Server 2008 R2) installs SQL Server 2005 SP4 Express 32-bit. To take advantage of the increased maximum database size of 10GB in SQL Server 2008 R2 Express; good news is that it is easy to upgrade the SQL instance (as an aside – SQL Server 2012 Express also has a 10GB limit).

The Backup Exec 2012 Software Compatibility List (SCL) – available for download here (be_2012_scl.pdf) – lists SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 as being supported.

Downloading SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 - Express

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 – Express Edition is available for download here. We can download SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU.exe – this is the 32-bit version of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express which is required in order to upgrade the 32-bit SQL Server 2005 Express instance, and the WT indicates that this is bundled with tools (SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Management Studio Express.)

Image 1: SQLEXPRWT_x86_ENU.exe

Performing the Upgrade

Double-click the downloaded exe.
If you’ve not already got .NET Framework Core role enabled, click OK to the prompt to enable.

Image 2: enabling .NET Framework

Click the ‘Upgrade from SQL Server …’ link

Image 3: Upgrade from SQL Server 2000/2005/2008

Tick ‘I accept the license terms’ and click Next >
Verify BKUPEXEC is selected as the instance to upgrade and click Next >

Image 4: Select the instance of SQL Server to upgrade
*After upgrade the version will become 10.50.2500

Error Reporting – leave the tick box unchecked and click Next >
And wait for the upgrade to complete!

Image 5: SQL Server 2008 R2 upgrade completed successfully

Close the Window.

Installing SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Studio Express

To install Management Studio Express – from the same installer, click on ‘…add features to an existing installation.’

Image 6: New installation or add features to an existing installation

Select ‘New installation or add shared features’ and click Next >

Image 7: New installation or add shared features

Tick ‘I accept the license terms’ and click Next >
Verify only the ‘Management Tools – Basic’ is ticked and click Next >

Image 8: Select ‘Management Tools – Basic’

Instance Configuration – click Next >
Error Reporting – leave the tick box unchecked and click Next >

And wait for the installation to complete!

Verify Backup Exec 2012 Application Functionality

Finally, check the Backup Exec 2012 software is functioning correctly!

Note: SQL Server does get restarted in the upgrade. It is not required to stop Backup Exec services prior to the upgrade, but there should not be any jobs running during the upgrade.

Tip: An easy way to tell you’re running a 32-bit version of SQL (applies to 64-bit O/S only).
Open up task manager > Processes tab > find the Image Name ‘sqlservr.exe’ and if it has *32 at the end then it is a 32-bit process

Image 9: sqlservr.exe *32


  1. Thanks for the great walk-through. Just curious-- was there a reason you went with SP1 instead of SP2? I'm looking to update an old instance of SQL Express 2005 to 2008 R2 for another application and I'm trying to see if there is any reason I shouldn't use SP2.

  2. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the comment.

    No reason I can think of why went to SP1 instead of SP2 other than it might have been the latest streamlined with SP binary package I could find.



  3. hmmm, I just checked the compatibility list on Symantec's site and it only lists SP1...


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