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How To: Upgrade SQL Server 2012 (RC) to Release (RTM)

If you’ve been working with the Release Candidate (RC) version of SQL Server 2012 (formerly code-named “Denali“), you are likely aware that the final release is now available as an evaluation download here, or from MSDN with in the Standard, Business Intelligence, and Enterprise editions. If you want to perform a straight upgrade from the evaluation edition, it’s a relatively simple process. From the installation screen, select the Upgrade from a previous version of SQL Server option (even though it doesn’t list RC0, it is the same process as from say SQL 2008).

The reason, which I bring up this issue, is that I had a set of VM’s that were configured with AlwaysOn running the RC version and the version was expired and gave the error message below:


The reason for that error is that per the license agreement that you agreed to as part of the installation, the beta and RC time is limited to 180 days.

The good news is that you can get around it pretty easily. Run setup from your RTM version of SQL and then click the installation tab on the left and select the Upgrade option as seen below:


Select all of the appropriate options for your installation, and your server will be upgraded pretty much like you would say during a service pack.

Please note: However, if you want to move from the release candidate or beta version (RC) to one of the licensed editions, you could run into trouble. In my testing, what has happened is that parts of the installation will upgrade properly, but others will fail. This can be seen from the instances screen when upgrade is run for a second time.

Unfortunately, the “left behind” instance will not be upgraded with the other components, and now that this has been run, the Edition upgrade function will fail to work as well. In one of my cases, I needed to do a complete SQL uninstall and then perform a reinstall. (Which is always fun) The really good news is that the reinstall did work and the way to avoid this is to do the Edition upgrade first. If you’re unfamiliar with this, you can find it on the Maintenance tab of the SQL Server installation Center (as seen below)


Once you complete the edition upgrade, you can now go ahead and perform the standard upgrade as you would with the evaluation version.

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One Response to “How To: Upgrade SQL Server 2012 (RC) to Release (RTM)”

  1. fbrem #

    in my case the sql service cant be started after the evalution period, so the upgrade fails.. How did you overcome this problem?

    January 9, 2013 at 11:52 PM
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