I have a Server Server 2008 R2 instance. I need to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 temporarily until an infrastructure upgrade to newer hardware and newer software.

I try to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 Express, but it resulted in an error with a version mismatch.

On this screen, I noticed a second installation of SQL Server Standard rather than express. There is no other instance, so I'm assuming that is what is holding me up. I'm guessing the instance is everything as a whole, and because part of it is Standard it creates a roadblock.

Snippet of SQL Instance while upgrading

What are my options?

Is it possible to migrate the blacked out Express database and then upgrade?

Why did it get tied to a Standard version when the software that created it says they utilize Express for their database?


Screenshot showing there is only one instance to upgrade


2 Answers 2


Based on the version number, the instance you are trying to upgrade is actually SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2:

enter image description here

Source: https://sqlserverbuilds.blogspot.com.

Upgrade from SQL Server 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2016 is supported, but you need to be running SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/database-engine/install-windows/supported-version-and-edition-upgrades?view=sql-server-ver16.

You should apply SP3 to the instance, and then try the upgrade again.

However, please note also that SQL Server 2016 only exists as a 64-bit program, while instead SQL Server 2008 R2 existed both in a 32-bit and in a 64-bit version; if you are running SQL Server 2008 R2 32-bit, you are out of luck and it's not possible to upgrade it.

  • You're absolutely right. Looks like after running a query it seems to be 32bit. Looks like I may have to look into seeing what it takes to either migrate the database to a 64bit version (is this possible?) or get with the software vendor and see if there's a way to export their data to a new database instance.
    – ArxAngel
    Commented Jul 10 at 19:20
  • 1
    You can backup/restore (ore detach/attach) a database from an existing instance to another one running a newer SQL Server version; this is completely supported and safe. But you'll have to re-create logins and re-assign permissions, because they are defined both at the database level and at the instance level.
    – Massimo
    Commented Jul 10 at 21:58

It seems the software you mentioned created a SQL Server instance Express Edition for its own use only but you also have a SQL Server Standard Edition. When upgrading using SQL Server 2016 setup make sure you select the Express Edition instance from the combo box and continue setup.

enter image description here

  • Unfortunately, that is the only instance listed. There's that, then "Shared Features". I've edited my original post to reflect.
    – ArxAngel
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:16
  • I just realized that the SQL Server I'm trying to update is actually 2008. Could that be the reason why it is not showing an instance to upgrade to 2016?
    – ArxAngel
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:34
  • I am glad to see you solved the issue. Commented Jul 10 at 19:53

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