Are there any differences from the version of SSMS that comes as part of the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Installer and the SQL Server 2012 Express Management Studio?


2 Answers 2


In the RTM release of SQL Server 2012 (and in previous versions), yes, they are quite different. The Express version was missing a bunch of functionality, most notably the ability to manage SQL Server Agent (even on non-Express instances). There are other things missing like Profiler but technically that is not part of Management Studio itself, just part of the suite of client tools.

Starting with SQL Server 2012 SP1, however, Management Studio Express now has full parity in terms of feature set. Essentially this means that full Management Studio functionality no longer requires a license. You can download the more recent version, SP2, here:


You want the file SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe or, if you're really old school, SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe.

As with previous versions, to get Management Studio Express, you'll need either Express with Tools, Express with Tools and Advanced Services, or stand-alone Management Studio Express.

I don't have a system handy without Management Studio proper to test this on, but they've blogged about this on the Internet (it was first announced with CTP4 back in September), so it must be true:


Since this was asked/answered, SSMS is now released separately from the main SQL Server distribution, and the current release supports all SQL Server versions back to 2008 up to the latest on-prem (2019 at time of writing) and Azure SQL offerings, so you can use the most up-to-date management tools without needing to update your actual instances (with the obvious exception of parts that rely on features introduced in more recent releases). It is available at https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/ssms/download-sql-server-management-studio-ssms and installs alongside any legacy tools you may have from older SQL Server versions so you can still use them if you do find any compatibility/usability issues with your older instances.


The Express version will not let you save Import and Export packages created through the wizard.

  • This is only relevant for the RTM version; the SP1 version is fully functional with none of these limitations. Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 23:01

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