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Can SQL 2017 Full version be downgraded to Express?

J.R. Sitman
J.R. Sitman asked
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I installed a version of SQL2017 that the trial has expired.   It now requires a Product Key.    Can it be downgraded?    I have a database in SQL that I need and the SQL service will not start because it is not licensed.

HELP!
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HuaMin ChenProblem resolver

Commented:
Hi,

You have to each time create proper schema (.bak) file and ensure that you can also work with it, in Express version.
If it has expired, you can not now downgrade it.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
you have to uninstall the expired version you can then install the express version and then attach the previous databases.
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Since the trial already expired, you can't bring up the SQL Server evaluation up and running to take backup of your database,
If you have any Enterprise edition features available, then you can't restore backup or attach databases as mentioned above..

However, you can still access the Data file(*.mdf) and Log File(*.ldf) files, copy it to your Express edition and attach it provided it doesn't have any Enterprise edition features available inside it..
If you can't attach it due to some Enterprise Edition features, then follow the below steps:
1. Install Evaluation edition of SQL Server in another Server or as another instance in Same server.
2. Copy the data and Log files and attach it as a new database in new instance.
3. Run the below command to identify what Enterprise edition feature you have on that database.
select * from sys.dm_db_persisted_sku_features

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4. Once known, you can either remove those features and then restore the backup of that database backup to your Express instance.
OR
 Use Generate Scripts Wizard to script out your entire database structure(DDL and Data) and then execute it in your Express instance.

Kindly let us know for more details.
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I did a search of the server and there are no MDF files that are related to the Solarwinds database.

Below is a list of some of the dependencies

services
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
>> I did a search of the server and there are no MDF files that are related to the Solarwinds database.

Ideally it should be there..
Kindly double check for MDF files in the SQL Server installation folders or the folder path where it was configured out..
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I double-checked.  No MDF.   Is there possibly a Trial key that someone has that I can use just to get my database exported.
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Okay, if you don't have any files with extension MDF, then they might have put some other file extension explicitly..
Kindly let us know whether your SQL Server evaluation edition can be up and running for 5 minutes or so..
if so, then we can get all necessary information about your MDF files and other details and can try to move it to the new server..
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
The SQL service stops immediately after I start it.
SQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Okay, then try this workaround by changing System time to a older date (temporarily) to get the database backup and logins so that you can move it to the new instance.. Kindly let me know whether it works or not..
If works, kindly run the below query and obtain the file path where your Data and Log files are located and then we can copy those files and attach it to your Express instance.
select name, filename 
from master..sysaltfiles

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Please be noted that this is a temporary approach to retrieve critical data from your SQL Server instance and running SQL Server services with older system time will have some impacts on your Application logics..
https://sysxnull.blogspot.com/2017/09/solved-restart-sql-service-after-trial.html
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
Thanks.  I'll test tomorrow.
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Sure, let me know whether this workaround works or not so that we will be able to retrieve the data file and log file paths..
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I cannot change the date.  When I do it immediately changes back to the current date.
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
May be your group policy prevents that..
Kindly try this registry trick to allow you to edit System time for time being.
https://www.howtogeek.com/253745/how-to-allow-a-standard-windows-10-user-to-change-the-time-and-date/
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I'll work on it tomorrow.
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
It let me change the time but within a few seconds, it went back to the current time.  

I think if I disconnect it from the Domain that might work.   Your thoughts.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:

unplug the network adapter and redo it. 

J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I'll be there Tuesday
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Sure, kindly keep us posted..
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I disable the NIC and it still went back to the current time.   I found out that I need to disable Time synchronization in the VM settings.  

So it will not be done until next Tuesday.  

I only go there once a week.
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Kindly let me know whether you have backup of master database available or not..
If so, then we can restore master database to another server and identify the file paths and proceed instead of waiting till next week..
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
unfortunately, I do not.
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I was able to uncheck the Time Sync in Integrated Service and then backdate the date.   Then I was able to start SQL.   I did a Full backup.

Before I award the points is there anything else I need to do as far as the SQL backup?   e.g. what is the difference between "Backup and Export"?
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
If you have the Backup available, then ideally you can restore this database to a new instance of SQL Server Express..
As mentioned earlier, kindly run the below query on your databases to see whether there are any enterprise edition features enabled on your databases.. If not, then you should be able to safely restore the backup on Express edition instance without any issues.
select * from sys.dm_db_persisted_sku_features

Open in new window

J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
Thank you I'll run it tomorrow
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Sure, keep us updated
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
after running it, I got the message "incorrect syntax near 'sys'
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Can you try copying the script once as it works fine for me..
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
I copied the query and ran it.    All that is stated was "query executed successfully.  Nothing else was displayed.   The results box was empty.
I ran it on all of the three.  See attached

What does that mean?

query
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018
If no results were displayed, then you are good to go..
You can restore the database backups to any Express instance without any issues.
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
Thanks
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
Thanks
Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & Architect, EE Solution Guide
Awarded 2009
Distinguished Expert 2018
Welcome, glad to assist!!
J.R. SitmanIT Director

Author

Commented:
Thank you very much for being patient