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Running SQL Express 2012 & 2008 side by side OR Downgrading SQL Express 2012 to 2008

Hi Experts,

We have our database running in SQL Express 2012, on a Windows Server 2008 quad core machine.
We require SQL Express 2008 to be running as well as 2012 for some new databases that are not currently compatible with 2012. OR we need to run 2008 instead of 2012, and for the current database to be downgraded.

I don't know if both versions of SQL can run side by side?
I know it's easy to take and place a database into a newer version but not sure if it's possible to downgrade?
I also don't know how long any of this would take and if it would cause any downtime to the current database.

I'm not very knowledgeable with any of this, so any help or suggestions would be greatly apreciated!
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3 Solutions
Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
you can run "any" versions of sql server side by side.
it's a new instance you need to install for each version.
INHOUSERESAuthor Commented:
Hi angelIII,

Thanks for the comment.
I'm not sure what you mean?

SQL 2012 is currently installed and running on the machine. I've downloaded an exe for SQL Express 2008

I assume by your comment, it's not just a case of running this install?
Yes, you can run both side by side, you need to run the installer you've downloaded, and during the installation, choose a unique name for the SQL2008 version you're installing.

The Default SQL2012 version will probably have installed as:


So when you see the InstanceName box during the install, you can choose something such as: SQL2008Express.

Then when your programs need to talk to 2008 rather than 2012, point them to the SQL Server \\machinename\SQL2008Express.

Don't forget to service pack your new installation.
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
to setup a instance, you run the setup.

afterwards, you can "move" a database from 1 instance to another, but with the following constraints:
* from instances having exactly the same version => no problem, these options work:
   - backup database on first instance, restore database on second instance
   - detach database on first instance, copy/move the database files as needed, attach database on second instance

* from instance with lower version to higher version => no problem (same as above) BUT see next line

* from instance with higher version to lower version => ONLY scripting and data migration method will work. the simple methods shown above won't work.
INHOUSERESAuthor Commented:
Ok, sounds simple enough thanks for those comments.

Just a few clarifying questions:

1. Will this install without causing downtime to the current database in 2012?
2. will there be any performance issues with having the 2 instances running simultaneously?
3. How does this all work with SQL Server Management studio install on the same machine?

Thanks for the help guys.
Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>1. Will this install without causing downtime to the current database in 2012?
no. instances are 100% independant of each other

>2. will there be any performance issues with having the 2 instances running simultaneously?
the limit of resources needs to be considered.
still, you should ensure both instances are reconfigured for the maximum memory setting to make sure that the total of those 2 settings < 80% of the hardware RAM attached to the server.

>3. How does this all work with SQL Server Management studio install on the same machine?
you can use the 2 versions of management studio to connect to the relevant instance, OR use the highest-version to register the lower-version instance, and hence manage multiple instances from the same management studio.
Please note if you apply service packs then a reboot is often required, so better to do that out of hours.
INHOUSERESAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the swift responses.

in regards to point 2. They're both SQL Express and the machine has 8gb ram so it's very safe to assume they will operate ok side by side.

I wasn't going to do any of this in operation hours so I should be safe there too.

Thanks for the comments.
INHOUSERESAuthor Commented:
Hi Guys,

The install isn't working.

I downloaded the top one on this list:

I don't know what's going wrong.
The only error I get is:
"SQL Server Browser service group does not exists.Check for earlier failures in the setup"
The earlier failure is "Installation completed with failures".

Any other information I can give to help find out why?

(Should I post another question?)
Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
INHOUSERESAuthor Commented:
Ace of Base!!

Worked a treat.
And it was nice and simple for a noobie like me!

I did make another question for this as I was unsure on the speed of response:


If you post that there I'll award points.
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