At the moment, I have a SQL 2005 Standard box. I'd like to upgrade it to SQL 2012 Enterprise in-place. When I say in place, I mean an install similar to Office 2010, e.g. it removes the older (Office 2007) version, binds itself to extensions once held by its predecessor and keeps all the settings as well.

Is this possible?

If not, what should be the procedure? So far, I got this.

  1. Back up the databases
  2. Write down all the settings.
  3. Uninstall SQL 2005.
  4. Install SQL 2012 Enterprise.
  5. Restore settings
  6. Restore the databases.

Yes, according to Supported Version and Edition Upgrades you can upgrade in place from 2005 Standard to 2012 Enterprise, provided SQL Server 2005 is currently on an operating system supported by SQL Server 2012 Enterprise (meaning forget about XP or 2003 RTM) and that the architecture is the same (e.g. 64-bit -> 64-bit).

Though you should do step 1 and 2 anyway so you have something to compare to and fall back on, since you never know what might go wrong during the upgrade. (And don't forget to knock on wood and all that.)

Personally I prefer a side-by-side installation onto a new machine, especially if the 2005 hardware and/or operating system is old. The performance benefits you get "for free" when you upgrade are amplified immensely when you also upgrade the underlying stuff as part of the process.

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  • Another side effect of the side by side then restore is that when you're done the data files will be in the proper folder for the version (D:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.INSTNAME\ instead of D:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1). But with an in-place upgrade you will not hae to export logins, jobs, etc. I prefer Aaron's method as well, mostly because it gives you a better roll back plan, but in-place is very easy. – Jason Cumberland Jun 25 '12 at 21:26

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