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Upgrade to SQL Server 2016 in an Effective Way

👤 Naveen Sharma | Modified: May 8th, 2023|SQL Server 2016 | 4 Minutes Reading

User of SQL Server can upgrade instances of SQL Server 2008, 2012 or any previous versions to SQL Server 2016 to get all the improved features that comes along with it. The article will be discussing the way to upgrade to SQL server 2016 using the installation wizard.

Note: Before upgrading, it is advisable that user creates backup of SQL Server databases and other associated objects with previous SQL Server instance. After the upgrade, the instance of previous SQL server will be overwritten and will no longer exists on the system.

Prerequisites before Upgrade to SQL Server 2016

  • User needs to run the setup as an administrator and user should be a local administrator with domain account having read & execute permissions while installing SQL Server from a remote share.
  • Create backup of all SQL Server database files from the previous SQL Server instance to be upgraded. This backup can be used to restore data, if required.
  • Run the DBCC commands to ensure that database to be upgraded is in a consistent state. Ensure that replication is current and then stop replication.
  • Make sure that there is enough space required to upgrade the SQL server components and verify that existing system databases are configured to auto grow.
  • Every Database servers should have logon information in master database, as this information is needed for restoring a database.
  • Since the upgrade process will stop and start services on SQL Server instance, disable all startup stored procedures.
  • Target servers should be upgraded before upgrading master servers. If not, SQL server agent will not be able to connect to master instances of SQL Server.
  • All applications related to SQL Server must be stopped during upgrade process as it may fail if local applications are connected to SQL Server instance to be upgraded.

Steps to Upgrade to SQL Server 2016

  • Installation can be done using media or from a network share and user can double-click on the setup.
  • Wizard will start the SQL Server installation center. To upgrade, click on Installation and then select Upgrade from SQL Server 2008/2008 R2/2012/2014.
  • On the next screen, select one option to indicate if you want to upgrade to a free edition or select another if you have the product key for License version.
  • Click on ‘I accept the license terms’ option and select ‘Next’.
  • Setup procedure will automatically proceed to Product updates window if there are no rule errors.
  • If the Microsoft Update option is not checked, update page will appear. Enabling the check will change the computer settings to include latest updates when you scan for Windows update.
  • Latest updates are displayed on the Product Updates page. If you don’t want to include the updates, clear the option ‘Include SQL Server Product updates’.
  • The progress of downloading, extracting and installing the setup files will be shown. If there is update, that update will be installed.
  • The setup process will automatically lead to select instance window if there are no rule errors.
  • Specify the instance of SQL Server to upgrade on the instance page.
  • The features to upgrade will be pre-selected. All the information for each feature will be displayed after selecting it.
  • The instance ID will be specified for the SQL Server instance. Instance ID is defined to identify installation directories & registry keys for SQL Server Instance.
  • Default service accounts are displayed for SQL Server services on the Server Configuration-Service Accounts page. Service Accounts can be configured individually to make the SQL Server services grant permissions for completing the tasks.
  • Specify the login account for all service accounts and provide credentials. After that, click on ‘Next’.
  • Define the upgrade options for the databases being upgraded on the upgrade options page.
  • If all went smoothly, Feature Rules window will be shown.
  • Click on Install. The setup will first install the required pre-requisites for the features selected, which will be preceded by installation of features.
  • Progress window will show the status of the installation steps as setup continues.
  • Click on Close to complete the installation process. Complete page will give the summary log file for installation.
  • Restart the computer after the successful completion of installation process.


In the content, we have included the complete guide to help users to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 from its previous versions. It has described the necessary conditions that need to be kept in mind before the upgrade process. In addition, the total stepwise solution for upgrading to SQL Server 2016 has been discussed in the article.