I'm setting up a dev system with only 2 site collections, is it possible to run an express version of SQL 2008 R2?

I'm not too worried about performance, mainly that it will install and run for dev work.


If you do a standalone install it will install the Windows Internal Database (WID) for you as part of the process. WID is similar to SQL Server Express with two critical difference: SQL Server Express has database size limits and SQL Server Express can be installed by itself (WID is bundled with SharePoint and can not be installed by itself). SharePoint does not support SQL Server Express. WID works ok as a trial or sandbox system. You can do some dev on it, but I would not consider it a robust dev environment so you may need to do additional testing on a farm configured in a similar way to the production environment.

  • It didn't prompt me for a basic install, configuration wizard asked me for database details directly. I assumed that this was something new in MOSS 2010. Oh well I've gone with express.
    – user879
    Sep 17 '10 at 15:27

The following links identify some of the limitations of using SQL Server Express with SharePoint. The disk capacity is usually the one to watch out for. I had heard that a SQL 2008 Express service pack would raise the maximum capacity to 10GB (from 4GB), but I have not confirmed it.

SharePoint Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263202.aspx

SharePoint Foundation: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288005.aspx


I have done some additional research. The question was specifically about SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. If you use the standalone install for either SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Foundation 2010, then you will get SQL Serrver 2008 Express (not R2) which includes a 4 GB limit according to MSDN documenation. With Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS3) you got an an unrestricted version of SQL Server called Windows Internal Database (WID). This was not true for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS), which also uses SQL Server 2005 Express which also includes a 4 GB limit. Here is a quick summary:

  1. SharePoint Server 2010 ------------> SQL 2008 Express (4 GB limit)
  2. SharePoint Foundation 2010 ------> SQL 2008 Express (4 GB limit)
  3. SharePoint Server 2007 ------------> SQL 2005 Express (4 GB limit)
  4. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 --> Windows Internal Database (unlimited size)

SharePoint 2010 system requirements does not include Express versions. If you choose standalone, it installs the database engine for you that is bundled with SharePoint.

So back to the original question, is it possible? Maybe (but probably not because Microsoft will detect the version). Is it recommended, even if possible, defintely not, since it is not supported. I would recommend using one of the supported database engines listed here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx

  1. 64 bit SQL Server 2012
  2. 64 bit SQL Server 2008 R2
  3. 64 bit SQL Server 2008 with SP1
  4. 64 bit SQL Server 2005 with SP3

If you must go with standalone (only recommeneded for playing around and completely disposable) then use whatever database engine included in the standalone configuration (this is out of your control.) But I need to highlight how important it is to avoid standalone at all costs. Often an enviorment will be installed just to play around or evalute and often turns into a production system without you even knowing about it. Then you run into all sorts of supportablity issues.

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