SQL Server File Locations for Default Instances

Each Instance of SQL Server has its own set of Executables (sqlservr.exe) and Data Files. The file locations for the default instance are different depending upon the version installed. Essentially, this is to allow multiple versions of SQL Server to happily co-existing on the same server.

The table below lists the default file locations (as they appear on my systems).

Version Location of Database Engine Additional Instances Service Names
SQL Server 2000  & MSDE(v8) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL MSSQL$MyInstance MSSQLSERVER; MSSQL$MyInstance
SQL Server 2005 (v9) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\ MSSQL.2; MSSQL.3…
SQL Server 2005 Express (v9) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\ MSSQL.2; MSSQL.3…
SQL Server 2008 (v10) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER MSSQL10.MyInstance SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER); SQL Server (MyInstance)
SQL Server 2008 Express (v10) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.SQLEXPRESS MSSQL10.MyInstance
SQL Server 2008 R2 (v10.25; v10.5) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER MSSQL10_50.MyInstance SQL Server (MyInstance)
SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services (v10.25; v10.5) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10_50.MSSQLSERVER MSSQL10_50.MyInstance SQL Server (MyInstance)
SQL Server 2008 R2 Express (v10.25; v10.5) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.SQLEXPRESS MSSQL10_50.MyInstance
SQL Server 2012 Express (v11) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.SQLEXPRESS MSSQL11.MyInstance SQL Server (MyInstance)
SQL Server 2014 Express (v12) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL12.SQLEXPRESS MSSQL12.MyInstance SQL Server (MyInstance)

 

Common Files
Additionally, multiple instances (within each version) share some common files.

Version Location of Common Files Notes
Common Files (2000) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\
Common Files (2005) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\ The 2005 installation also creates an  “80” folder.
Common Files (2008) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\
Common Files (2012) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\110\
Common Files (2014) C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\120\

 

The Browser Service
There is only ever one copy of the SQL Browser Service running (and it always lives in the same folder). Normally, it will be automatically upgraded to whichever is the latest installed version of SQL Server.

The Browser Service listens for requests on UDP Port 1434 on behalf of all the installed SQL Server Instances that are installed on the Server (irrespective of version).

Version Location of Browser Service Notes
SQL Server 2000 Listener Service Requires SQL Server 2000 SP3a
SQL Server 2005 Browser Service C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlbrowser.exe Version 2005.90.5000.0
SQL Server 2008 Browser Service C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlbrowser.exe Version 2007.100.5500.0
SQL Server 2008 R2 Browser Service C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlbrowser.exe Version 2009.100.1600.1
SQL Server 2012 Browser Service C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlbrowser.exe Version 2011.110.2100.60
SQL Server 2014 Browser Service C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlbrowser.exe Version 2014.120.2000.8

 

64 Bit Windows
Within 64 Bit Windows, some files may be installed within “Program Files (86)” rather than “Program Files”.

SQL Server Compact Edition
These editions have very little in common with the SQL family as discussed in this document. SQL Server Compact Edition does not run as a service, nor is there any concept of database instances. The default installation directory is “C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition\” and a file type of “sdf” is used for each data store.

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