Upgrading SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Evaluation to a Licensed Standard Edition

Ok, first off, the title is an oxymoron. This is a downgrade.


Customers end up in this situation because they downloaded a SQL Server Evaluation and Microsoft only provides SQL in the ‘Enterprise Edition’ format.


Second, SQL Server 2008 is the *FIRST* SQL Server version to support this. Reference: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143393.aspx


The Procedure:

1. After providing the correct media (if Volume, etc. there is no license key, just provide valid media for setup)

2. For each instance that you need to “upgrade”, perform the following (make sure you are in the appropriate path):


Setup.exe /q /ACTION=editionupgrade /INSTANCENAME=MSSQLSERVER



3. Reboot (I just made this up, but I like to know for sure this “sticks” so a reboot now saves heartache a month from now/later



For our customer tonight for example, I had to run this twice. Once for a “SHAREPOINT” instance and once for the default instance (to which I simply did not specify a name for the instance. SharePoint didn’t like it at first (as SQL got stopped in the process, etc.) but after an IISRESET all returned to normal. By the way, there isn’t much feedback from the program, it just runs for a bit and then stops.





  • EditionUpgrade Syntax can be found at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms144259.aspx
  • If the Evaluation period has expired, you will need to backdate the date on the computer if you want to keep SQL operational long enough to get a backup first using a database maintenance plan, etc. So, you’ll need to do the following:
    • Stop and Disable the Windows Time Service
      • If you are running SQL as a Virtual Guest on VMWare or Hyper-V, go into their tools (for VMWare, this is the ‘VMWare Tools Icon in your tray’ and tell it not to sync time with the local host, or it will keep flipping the time back




  • Manually roll the date back to a time that work