SQL Server 2016 Basic Installer

On many occasions I have found myself installing SQL Server and/or its development tools for a non-DBA power user. It always frustrated me to do this because I feel that SQL Server is for advanced users and I would expect advanced users to be able to install software for themselves. This, however, was unfair of me. The fact of the matter is that knowledge of the implementation of SQL Server is only the specialty of one DBA discipline. A database developer does not need to know about instant file initialization, nor should they care how FILESTREAM was enabled.

Microsoft has always done a good job of making the installer easy to work through, until now. Now they have raised the bar. For those of us who are installing SQL Server on a server for team use or even production, there is still the advanced installer available. For everyone else, who just wants a local database to point their web application or SQL Server Management Studio installed so they can query the development environment, we now have the SQL Server 2016 Basic Installer.


When installing client tools or a local SQL Server instance for a user, send them the basic installer and they will be 3 clicks away from completion.

How to install SQL Server 2016

What is installed

When using the Basic Installer only the database engine and SQL Client Connectivity SDK are installed. I find this better than using the advanced installer’s Install with all defaults option. Typically any local user will not need Reporting Services, Integration Services, Analysis Services, or any other feature available.

Downloading the media

To download the SQL Server 2016 basic installer, click on the link for the express, evaluation, or developer edition. The link will bring you to the official download page for the specific edition. Select Download SQL Server 2016 <edition> for free.

SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition

The website will ask you to login with your Microsoft account and then send you to the last page before downloading. After selecting the version that you would like to install, an announcement about the basic installer is displayed. Use the Click here to utilize the SQL installer link to begin the download. The file is about 4 MB.


Installing SQL Server

Run the web installer executable after the download is complete. Once the installer has prepared itself, you will be able to choose between the Basic, Custom, or Download Media options. The Download Media option will give you the full installation media for future use. The Custom option will load the standard launch page that you would normally expect from the advanced version of the installer. The Basic option is what we want to select, this provides us with the streamlined version of the installation that we are looking for.


Click Accept on the License Terms page.


Leave the default installation location and click Install.


Aaaannd… you’re done! I will continue to present all the screens that you will see and then explain the installation of client tools but at this point SQL Server will install without any further interaction.

What you can expect to see while it installs

The installer will download the necessary files and then install itself.


Finally, the installation is complete. The installer even goes so far as to give you important information for using SQL Server. This includes the .NET connection string and installation directories.

  1. Connect Now: will launch a SQLCMD.exe session and connect to the instance for you while quering the instance version information.
  2. Customize: this will launch the advanced installer. You might want this if you are going to add a feature or two to the installation.
  3. Install Tools: this will launch a browser window, opening the website for downloading SQL Server Management Studio.
  4. Close: you get the picture.


Installing SQL Server Management Studio

To install SQL Server Management Studio, download it here or click the Install tools button from the SQL Server installation completion page. Then click on Download SQL Server Management Studio <month, year>.


Even better than the SQL Server install, SQL Server Management Studio is a 1 click process. Just run the executable and select Install.


All that is left is to click Close and start querying SQL Server.







One response to “SQL Server 2016 Basic Installer”

  1. […] Derik Hammer walks through the new SQL Server Basic Installer: […]

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