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I've reviewed these two existing questions:

  1. Install SQL Server 2008 Express on same machine as normal SQL Server 2008 install?
  2. Installing SQL Server Express in parallel of Standard

...and I believe mine to not be a duplicate, as the details of my scenario differ slightly (and in an important way). If I'm mistaken please let me know and I'll try to edit my question appropriately.

Question:

I already have two named instances of SQL 2014 Standard Edition installed, but no default instance. I wish my default instance to be a SQL 2014 Express Edition installation (MSSQLSERVER).

But I see that the Express installer wants to put its files in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\, where files and folders already exist from the earlier Standard Edition named instance installations (e.g. .\110\*, .\120\*, .\Client SDK\*, etc.).

If I proceed with the Express installation and accept the default instance root directory (again, which already exists under Standard), will I cause any problems for the currently running Standard Edition named instances?

Or instead should I indicate a new instance root directory to be created (e.g. C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server Express\) for the new Express installation?

I'd prefer the former if possible, in order to keep everything consolidated, but I also don't want to cause trouble for myself if I can avoid it.

share|improve this question
    
Take a backup of your machine and any existing databases (you are making backups, right?) and try it. – Max Vernon Feb 11 at 3:08
    
@MaxVernon: I am, yes. Thank you for the cautionary note. However I'd like to learn of any anticipated problems with my approach before I try it, not after. Picking up the pieces of a broken installation (on either side) is not something I'm looking forward to. That said, come to think of it I am running this in a VM—so I believe a checkpoint will be in order in any case. In your experience, are any Standard-specific files running in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server that could be corrupted by an Express install to the same location? – InteXX Feb 11 at 3:36
    
Is there a really good reason you do want to use a shared root directory? From my experience on SQL 2000 and 2005 it sometimes wasn't the best option when it came to certain bugs. Having them separate would make it less likely that a change/patch in one might accidentally affect the other, in my opinion. – Ali Razeghi Feb 11 at 3:39
    
@AliRazeghi: "...a change/patch in one might accidentally affect the other" Aha. That's a good enough reason to separate them. Why did I want to combine them? That's a very good question—pardon me one moment while I consult with my OCD therapist. I'll get back to you. Someday. I'm sure. – InteXX Feb 11 at 3:45
1  
Work with Multiple Versions and Instances of SQL Server. That manual page doesn't make distinctions between different editions of the same version, but from my personal experience I can tell you I've had no issues running an Express and a Standard alongside each other (although they were 2008 R2, not 2014). – Andriy M Feb 11 at 7:30
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Is there a really good reason you do want to use a shared root directory? From my experience on SQL 2000 and 2005 it sometimes wasn't the best option.

Having them separate would make it less likely that a change/patch in one might accidentally affect the other or edge cases where NTFS permissions/corruption or something aggravates another issue causing more troubleshooting or affecting both. If there's not a strong reason to keep them shared, I typically separate due to a tiny amount of bad experiences.

share|improve this answer

Why not make the Express root be

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\Express

so that it's both separate, and in the same C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\ root as the rest?

share|improve this answer
    
I wish I could set multiple answers... better safe than sorry. So I'll go with separate instance roots – InteXX Feb 11 at 11:11

On default..

SQLExpress will try to install to "Program Files/SQL Server Express" while the standard will try to install to "Program Files/SQL Server".

Both version of programs have more than 80% common files that can be easily overwritten if you install them on the same folder.

Your OCD will be replaced by a major headache when you realized that you have messed up one installation and the only way to fix it is to manually remove either one or both.

share|improve this answer
    
I wish I could set multiple answers... great twist on the OCD :-) – InteXX Feb 11 at 11:11

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