In this article, I have provided step by step procedure to download and install SQL server express database in your machine. You can install or download SQL server other versions in similar way but as Express is free to use edition and works for entry level ot test databases, I am going to use it for this article.

SQL server express is free to use edition of SQL server, so yes, even if you have small website to manage it, you can use it for free without paying anything.

There are various odler version of SQL server express, we will be using latest one, that is SQL server Express 2019, you can download Express 2016 or 2017 and follow the same procedure of installation, but it is recommended to install latest version.

Step 1: Download SQL server Express from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/sql-server/sql-server-downloads

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Once you have downloaded the Express or Developer version (I am using Express version in this post), double click on the downloaded file and run the setup.

Step 2: Select "Custom" Installation

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Once you have selected "Custom" installation, you will see sreen with path of the default installation, click on "Browse" if you want to change the installation location, if not , click "Install"

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Once you will click install, SQL server installation wizard will download file, and you will see screen like below

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Step 3: Once the download is completed, a new screen will appear with title "SQL server Installation Center", Select "New SQL server stand-alone installation or add features to existing installation"as shown below

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Once you will click on the above button, you will screen as below, "Accept" the license and click "Next"

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You can mark the checkbox for auto-update or click on Next without checking it, but it is recommended to enable updates.

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Once you will click on Next, you will see image as shown below

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let the SQL server setup scan for updates and other things, click "Next" once procedure is finished.

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After the above screen, you will see installation details, in which all the features which will be installed are checked.

You can install "LocalDB" if you want to but in this example, I am not installing it.

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Click "Next", Once you are done with the above screen.

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In the Next screen you can scpecify SQL server instance ID or you can use "Default Instance", I am using Default one, Click "Next", once you are done.

On next Screen, if you have already installed JRE or JDK, specify the location of click on "Next"

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Click on "Next", let the all services start automatically.

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Now, this one is important step, If you want to enable "Mixed Mode", means if you want to login using SQL server user name (sa) and not just "Windows authentication mode", enable Mixed mode.

I have enabled it, and once we "Check" Enable mixed mode, you need to enter password and confirm password. (remember this password as it is will used to login into SQL server)

Once done, click on "Next"

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To install Microsoft R, click "Accept" and then "Next"

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If you have installed addtional feature, you might see more similar screen, click "Accept" in all screens and then "Next"

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Once all features are installed, you will see the installation procedure is complete.

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You might have to restart your system now. Once you have re-started it, you can login into SQL server 2019 using SSMS (SQL server management Studio), here is the demo of it.

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Related:

How to check SQL server version? (Various ways explained)

Connect to SQL Server in C# (example using Console application)

SQL server connection string examples in C# & XML

Where can I download SQL server 2016 express full?

Aggregate Functions in SQL Server (SUM, AVG, COUNT, MIN, MAX)