Version and Edition Upgrades with SQL Server 2008 R2

By:   |   Comments (7)   |   Related: > Upgrades and Migrations


In most environments there may be a need to do an in place version or edition upgrade for an existing SQL Server installation.  Microsoft makes this easy using the Edition Upgrade feature and in this tip we walk through the steps on how to do an upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2 using this feature.


To upgrade the version or edition of SQL Server, Microsoft offers the Edition Upgrade wizard to do this task. We can find this option in the SQL Server Installation Center under the Maintenance section. The step by step process is outlined below.

Upgrade Advisor

Before doing the actual upgrade you should run the Upgrade Advisor to understand the impact on the existing SQL Server edition.  If you need to find your current SQL Server version and edition you can refer to this tip.

The SQL Server 2008 R2 Upgrade Advisor is a simple and straightforward tool which will help detect any issues for the upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2. To understand the features and functionality of this tool, you can refer to this tip "Overview of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor". This tip gives a step by step explanation and covers all related information. The Upgrade Advisor can be downloaded from this page and can be run against SQL Server 2000, 2005 or 2008.


To have a successful upgrade, you need to plan and put together the necessary test cases. The Upgrade Advisor will analyze and provide reports on the database objects, T-SQL scripts and deprecated commands (if there are any), so you can address these prior to the upgrade.  Also, since you are doing an in-place upgrade you want to make sure you have everything covered prior to the upgrade.

SQL Server Upgrade Paths

There are several upgrade paths that can be taken and some are straightforward where others have some limitations.  For a complete list of upgrade paths refer to these articles:

Edition Upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2

In my example, I am upgrading from SQL Server 2008 Evaluation edition to SQL Server 2008 R2 Evaluation edition.

After you launch the SQL Server Installation Center go to Maintenance --> Edition Upgrade as shown below.

sql installation center

In the SQL Server 2008 R2 Setup - Setup Support Rules this will detect any system related issues which may occur during the SQL Server setup process. Click OK to proceed.

sql 2008 r2 setup

In the Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2008 R2 - Setup Support Rules this will detect any issues which will occur during the SQL Server setup support file installation. Click Next to proceed.

sql server setup rules

In the Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2008 R2 - Product Key this is where you enter the SQL Server product key or use the free edition key as shown below. Click Next to proceed.

sql server product key

In the Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2008 R2 - Edition Upgrade Rules this step validates the edition upgrade. Click Next to proceed.

sql server upgrade rules

In the Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2008 R2 - Ready to upgrade edition this shows details on the edition and the list of components to be upgraded. Click Upgrade to proceed.

sql upgrade edition

In the Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2008 R2 - Complete you get a summary log file and upgrade process status message based on the setup installation process. Click Close to complete.

sql server upgrade complete
Next Steps
  • Prior to the upgrade plan for downtime, because the upgrade process will require the stopping and starting of the SQL Server services.
  • Note that just because there are only a few screens that are displayed above the upgrade process takes as much time as a new installation, so plan accordingly.
  • If you have the ability, go through a test upgrade on a test server prior to upgrading your production system.
  • Before running the upgrade you should have a current backup of all of your user databases, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Read the overview of Upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2 from the MSDN Library.
  • Compare Microsoft SQL Server Editions prior to selecting your upgrade path.
  • Review SQL Server 2008 R2 Upgrade Technical Reference Guide from Microsoft to understand the upgrade steps.
  • Learn about Deprecated Database Engine Features in SQL Server 2008 R2.
  • Review other related tips in the Upgrades and Migrations tip category.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Murali Krishnan Murali Krishnan is a Lead Consultant with vast experience in Database/BI Design, Development and Administration.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Friday, September 12, 2014 - 4:53:48 PM - Murali Back To Top (34514)
Yes. It is supported. You can refer upgrade path page for more details.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 5:51:29 AM - Ravinder Back To Top (33953)

HI Murali,

I am having Sql server Standard edition (64 bit). can i directly upgraded to Sql server 2008 EE. Do i need to upgrade the edition from standard to enterprise 2005 and then to upgrade to 2008 or i can directly upgrade sql server 2005 standard to 2008 Enterprise edition.





Saturday, June 14, 2014 - 3:23:43 AM - Mainoddin Back To Top (32242)

Hi Murali,

you have used both different version but editions are  evaluation only so  i did not understand if you have both instance are in evaluation eition then what you are upgrading here, i think this blog is written wrongly.

this is in place upgrade of sql servr what you have mentioned. and but why you choose edition upgrade setup i dont know.

Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 12:49:59 AM - Wilfredo de Jesus-Rivera Back To Top (28096)

Thanks for your presentation I was able to complete the upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2 in Server 2003.


Saturday, October 29, 2011 - 10:32:25 AM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (14961)


I am not sure Microsoft has actually set an official release date for SQL Server Denali.  I believe the recent comments from SQL PASS were SQL Server Denali would be released in early 2012.


Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 1:19:01 PM - Murali Krishnan Back To Top (14938)

Refer these links and gothrough the new features and why should we upgrade section. Also you can find the next release info details.


Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 9:21:44 AM - Jack Back To Top (14936)

I have some servers I want to upgrade and I am not sure if I should upgrade now using SQL 2008 R2 or if I should wait until the next release of SQL Server. 

Does anyone know when the next version is going to be released?

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