I've spent several hours trying to fix this issue so far with no success. I had installed SQL Server 2008 Evaluation Edition. Out of fear it might expire & create problems for me I installed SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Edition & migrated all my databases to Express. It worked fine for several months but now I have problems when I try to launch Management Studio:

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I have tried the fixes in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971268 but they didn't help.

I am not able to understand even after uninstalling the SQL Server 2008 Evaluation Edition why I am getting error with the Express Edition.

I even installed new instance of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Edition, uninstalled SSMS 2008 Express & re-installed it still nothing seems to work for me.

Upgrade screen of installation:

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Present status of my system

  1. I have two instances of sql server 2008 r2 express edition
  2. SSMS 2008 express edition

I am not sure what else to do.

  • You don't have "SSMS 2008 express edition" - that edition of Management Studio Express doesn't expire. You may have installed SQL Server Express after installing the Eval edition, but that did not replace your eval edition of the tools with a free edition. Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 17:24
  • This would help Extend SQL Server Evaluation Period Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 1:53

3 Answers 3


You've already I assume, applied the registry fix suggested by Microsoft.

Since they are saying that this has been resolved since SP1, have you considered installing a newer version of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express?


Update 12:27

Based on what you're saying and without having your system in front of me, I'd try to find out if the evaluation edition you think you removed might actually still be there.

You can run the SQL Server features discovery report to find out what components are actually installed on your laptop.

Start -> All Programs -> SQL Server 2008 -> Configuration Tools -> SQL Server Installation Center. Then on the left you select Tools, and then click on the Installed SQL Server features discovery report.

Installation Center - Tools

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Features Report

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I would also go Control Panel, Uninstall Programs, and make sure there wasn't anything left over from the evaluation edition. Once you're absolutely sure that evaluation is gone, reboot the system just to make sure that the registry is reloaded correctly.


There is a bug in the SQL Server 2008 Upgrade system where even after upgrade, the system still shows the evaluation expiration message.

This is resolved in SQL Server 2012 onwards.


Migrating your databases to SQL Server Express did not magically turn your evaluation edition into a free edition. You need to remove the evaluation edition and replace it with a proper edition. However if you try to do that with the 2008/2008 R2 version of SQL Server Express, you get a stripped-down version of Management Studio Express that is missing some key functionality only present when you buy Developer, Standard, Enterprise, etc.

But that isn't the case in the most recent version. Here is my suggestion:

  1. Uninstall the Evaluation Edition of 2008 or 2008 R2 completely. If you can't do it using the Control Panel then I wrote up some tips for manual removal here.
  2. Install SQL Server 2012 Management Studio Service Pack 1 from here (direct links: x64 | x86).

The advantages of using the 2012 version over 2008/2008 R2:

  • Improved functionality: snippets over templates, better IntelliSense, multi-monitor support, region editing...
  • 2012 SP1 is the first version of Management Studio that is actually free and contains all of the functionality that ships with the premium editions (I blogged about this a bit here).
  • You can still manage 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2008 R2 instances with the 2012 version of the tool. If you hold onto 2008 versions you won't be able to manage 2012.

There may be reasons to be using earlier versions of Management Studio these days, but none that impact me (and based on your description I doubt any of those reasons impact you either). Even if you do decide you need to keep the 2008/2008 R2 tools around, you can get the Express version of Management Studio if it meets your needs, and also install the 2012 version. Unlike previous versions (2005/2008/2008 R2), you can install 2012's version of Management Studio side-by-side with any one of those editions.

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