Upgrade SQL Server 2012 Standard to Enterprise

This blog is about upgrading SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition to the Enterprise Edition. This issue has been written about a couple of times, but one more blog about this subject with a couple of screen shots will not hurt.

First, verify which edition of SQL Server you are running is by running “SELECT @@VERSION” in a SSMS query window.

Standard Version Check

Start the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise (DVD/ISO).  When the SQL Server Installation Center app appears, click on the “Maintenance” link on the top left panel of the app.

Maintenance Link

Then at the top of the right panel of the SQL Server Installation Center app, click on the “Edition Upgrade” link.

Edition Upgrade Link

A new app box will appear.  This app will do a scan for “Setup Support Rules”.  If this scan succeeds, then click the OK button in the bottom right corner of the app.

Rules Scan

The app will disappear, the there may appear a couple of pop up boxes that will disappear each on its own.

Pop Up in Progress

The “Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2012” app will appear.  This will perform a scan for the “Setup Support Rules”.  A different scan then the one performed before.  Click the NEXT button when the scan has completed.

Setup Support Rules Scan

The next screen is the Product Key screen.  Enter your product key, if it does not auto fill the “Enter the product key:” text box.  Then click the NEXT button.

Product Key screen

The next screen is the License Term screen.  Click the “I accept the license terms” check box.  Then click on the NEXT button.


The next is the Select Instance screen.  Drop the combo box down to select the instance that you wish to upgrade.  A list of recognized instances will be list in the Installed instances grid box.  Then click on the NEXT button.  A please wait box may appear for a couple of seconds.


The Edition Upgrade Rules screen appears next.  A scan will run to validate the edition upgrade process.  Once the scan is completed, click the NEXT button.

Upgrade Rules Scan

The Ready to upgrade edition screen appears next.  In the text box will appear a list of item that are going to be upgraded.  After reviewing this list, click on the UPGRADE button.


Once the UPGRADE button has been clicked, it will grey out.  Then nothing will happen for maybe a minute.  Then the Complete screen if the upgrade has succeed.  Click the CLOSE button.


Close the “SQL Server Installation Center” app, by click the X box in the top right hand corner.

Verify that SQL Server has upgraded by running the “SELECT @@VERSION” in a SSMS query window.


Final Note: To the best of my knowledge, no reboot is required after the upgrade is finished.  I have ran a test on each SQL 2008R2 & SQL 2012.  Both did not require a reboot.  This was on a Server 2008R2 operating system.  Please test before attempting this in a production environment.








  • Joshua Love says:

    Great post, love the screen shots.

    Is this considered an in place upgrade?
    Does this require a server reboot?

    • BlogAdmin says:

      To the best of my knowledge, No.

      I have just ran two tests on SQL 2008R2, and SQL 2012. Both did not require a reboot. This was on a Server 2008R2 operating system.

      Please test for yourself before attempting in a production environment.

  • Could you please write all of my computer books. I’ve been looking at dozens of pages this week (unrelated to this) on tech stuff and this is easily the finest writing I’ve seen all week. Nice work–and THANK YOU!!

  • Roopesh says:

    Works fine… no need to reboot server or sql instance.

  • Saurabh says:

    Thanks for sharing knowledge. Nice Work

  • BlogAdmin says:

    Good Deal & Thanks!

  • Leo says:

    Is this impacted by service packing? I other words if I’ve applied SP2, can I do the upgrade from the original RTM media or do I need to use a Slipstreamed Install package?

  • John Franko says:

    Great article. Followed it through, worked flawlessly!!

  • Blaine Kinnebrew says:

    Based on the edition upgrade I just performed from Standard to Enterprise, the instance re-started twice.

    The first time it re-started it was still Standard Edition.
    The second and final time it re-started it was Enterprise Edition.

    The total downtime with both re-starts was 53 seconds. Niiiice!

    Thank you, BlogAdmin.

  • Derrick says:

    Awesome post. I used this to get a 2012 Standard Edition ready for in-place upgrade to SQL 2014 Enterprise Edition. I wasn’t able to get that to work (still getting “It is not possible to change the SQL Server features to be upgraded in this release.”, but this super concise explanation on how to upgrade edition made the attempt so much faster! Thanks!

  • Evie says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  • Maruf says:

    In my workplace, has assignment below:
    Upgrade database server from SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise edition to SQL 2014 on standard edition.
    Please need help and suggestion on it. I don’t have enough knowledge on that. Is there any issue can happen on downgrade Edition? Also needs some heads up to make it done. I will highly appreciate for your help. Thanks


  • Danne says:

    If you d the edition upgrade, do you have to be new enterprise licenses or can you pay the difference if you do the version upgrade?

    • BlogAdmin says:

      Sorry, I do not have a good answer for you with the information provided. I have never of upgrading an existing license. Please ask someone more knowledgeable. I have talked to Microsoft Sales people who were challenged by some of the licensing models.

  • John2602 says:

    We just recently upgraded two sql 2012 standard edition servers to enterprise. The actual upgrade process went very smoothly however the server performance took a total nose dive. The new servers have16 cores and 260G ram. Just about anything we did would peg both cpu & memory to 100%. To resolve this issue we unstalled sql and ran a clean enterprise install. Problem solved. Next step is to contact Microsoft for input.

    • BlogAdmin says:

      Interesting problem, if I was in your place, I would want to look at the wait stats to see if I would be able to identify what was the issue. The best code for waits stats that I have found is written by Paul Randal at: http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/paul/wait-statistics-or-please-tell-me-where-it-hurts/

      Also I would want to compare the SQL Instance configuration to a healthy server, with the TSQL show below:

      EXEC sp_configure ‘Show Advanced Options’, 1;


      EXEC sp_configure;

      If anyone else has an idea to troubleshoot a pegged memory & CPUs, please reply.

Leave a Comment