Determine if a SQL Server Express instance is enabled to be used as a database server

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Instructions provided describe how to determine if an instance of SQL Server Express is enabled to be used as a database server.

To identify if a SQL Server Express instance has been enabled to store geodatabases, check the Microsoft SQL Server services hive in the Windows Registry.


Check the Windows Registry on the computer where SQL Server Express is installed:

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt.
  2. At the command line, type regedit.exe.
  3. Check the following Registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\MSSQL$<SQL Server Express instance name>

    By default, SQL Server Express instances are named sqlexpress, but this value may be different if another name was used when SQL Server Express was installed.

    If the registry key, ArcSDE_License, is present in this location and the Data value is set to a string beginning with either sdeworkgroup or sdepersonal; the SQL Server Express instance is enabled as a database server and can store geodatabases.
    [O-Image] registrysetting2

Article ID:000011592

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