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Is there any limitation in SQL Server Express that prevents you from creating a linked server to Active Directory?

(I don't have an AD environment available to test.)

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Linked Servers do not seem to be an edition specific feature according to this MSDN article : Linked Servers (Database Engine) SQL 2016

To add a linked server without the SQL Server Management Studio you would use the system stored procedures sp_addlinkedserver (SQL 2008+ or SQL 2012) and sp_addlinkedsrvlogin (SQL 2008+).

A similar Q&A was previously posted in SO as Linked Server In SQL Server Express

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