Upgrading SQL Server 2005 Express to SQL Server 2012 Express

Microsoft has ceased extended support of all editions of SQL Server 2005 as of April 12, 2016.  

Vermont Oxford Network recommends that you move your data to a supported version of SQL Server, ideally an existing Standard or Enterprise edition instance that will provider higher levels of security and stability.  

Alternately, if you choose to remain in an Express edition of SQL Server, the simplest way to transition will be to backup your current data set then perform a restore to a clean install of SQL Server 2012 Express.  This is essentially the same data transport procedure.

If neither of these options meets your needs and you would like to upgrade SQL Server 2005 Express in-place, please be advised of the following unofficial work-around:


Our experience indicates that there no longer appears to be a way to do a direct upgrade from SQL Server 2005 Express to SQL Server 2012 Express.  If this is attempted, the following error message will display:

Installing Service Pack 4 has not solved the problem in our experience but instead leads to messaging about the need for update 5000, which does not seem to be publicly available.


The solution VON has found successful is to

1) download and install Service Pack 3.

2) download and upgrade to SQL Server 2008 Express 

3) upgrade to SQL Server 2012 Express.

While this is not the official procedure from Microsoft, it is not likely that any official documentation will be forthcoming as support has been discontinued.

If you find any inaccuracies to this information or believe you have a more technically appropriate solution to the problem, please feel free to comment on this article or contact support@vtoxford.org directly.

A final option for converting to a more current version of SQL Server would be to move the data via backup/restore.