Best practice: replacing local .mdb with sql look alike

Hi Experts:
I have an assignment and need assistance getting started. I'm not a d/b expert and my web research has not been fruitful.

We have a SQL-Server (2012) with a master d/b.
We also have many systems (various versions of Windows) using a local app that stores the same data in a local Access .mdb. The table structures are similar (not exact).
The project is to replace the .mdbs with some form of database that can be queried using the exact same SQL language as the SQL Server database. The new d/b will sit on the standalone system and occasionally receive updated record from the SQL server d/b.

We are looking for something that is free, and can be distributed with the app (VB6).

Any ideas, advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
k heitzsoftware developerAsked:
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
There are free versions of SQL Server called SQL Express.   Older versions are still available also.

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Couldn't you use SQL 2012 express? It's free and you could query as you normally would with SQL.
k heitzsoftware developerAuthor Commented:
Thank you! Yes it looks like exactly what I need.
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