There are times when I need to move a SQL Server 2008 Express database (I'm aware it is EOL) from one machine to another. In order to do that I need to implement a mechanism using C# to encrypt the database, password protected, create back-up; move it to a different machine, restore the back-up and then decrypt it using the same password/key. I've looked into many articles but couldn't find a way for SQL Server 2008 Express edition. Please help. Thanks!

I've been trying https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/relational-databases/security/encryption/transparent-data-encryption?view=sql-server-ver16 however this doesn't really help as I never know which SQL Server version I may get the database from and to add to that I may need those different users to provide me with encryption keys and the certificates as well. I've been trying to make the process simpler in a manner that the user may provide me with a back-up of a SQL Server DB (after encryption), along with the key that I may then use to decrypt the DB on my machine.

Also, it is stated here Database level encryption in SQL Server 2008 Express edition that none of the SQL Server express editions support encryption. However, this was posted in 2012. Is this still true?

I posted the query at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/74384141/how-to-encrypt-database-in-sql-server-2008-express-edition by mistake. Re-posted here.

  • I don't understand your use case. If you're immediately decrypting the database anyway, what's the purpose of encrypting it to begin with?
    – J.D.
    Nov 10, 2022 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


Sql server 2008 only supports TDE on the following versions.

Evaluation Developer Enterprise

Since 2019 also Standard supports TDE.

  • Thanks @Peter What if its not SQL 2008, but a later version, but Express edition nonetheless? Is there a way? Nov 10, 2022 at 6:19
  • No, since 2019 you need Standard edition minimum. Therefor the mentioned versions.
    – Peter
    Nov 10, 2022 at 6:23

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