What are the proper steps for installing Express Maintenance and creating the MS SQL Server database?

Answer: Below are step by step instructions for installing the Microsoft SQL Server database engine and ExpressMaintenance.  These instructions also apply to existing customers wishing to transfer the application and data from one server to another.  Where applicable, the difference is noted.  Though this guide appears lengthy, the steps below only take a few minutes.

Note: These steps are to be performed using a login with full administrative rights.  They should be taken at the server computer or at a standalone computer functioning as its own server.  We recommend carefully following each step below checking them off as they are completed.  Should you need to email our support department, please be specific about which steps you have completed and where you are having trouble as well as any error messages you received.

Installing the Database Engine – Microsoft SQL Server Express

ExpressMaintenance uses the very powerful and robust Microsoft SQL Server for database storage and retrieval.  ExpressMaintenance will work with all versions of MS SQL Server.  Below are the recommended versions of SQL Server that may be used.  The download links are for the express (free) edition of Microsoft SQL Server.

1. If you already have an existing copy of SQL Server installed on your server / computer, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INSTALL one of these versions as it is not needed and may damage your existing SQL Server installation.  Proceed to step 4 below if you already have SQL Server installed.

2. If you do not already have SQL Server installed, you will need to download and install one of the versions listed below based on the version of Windows you are running. If using Microsoft SQL Server 2008, be sure to use Revision Two (R2).  We recommend using SQL Server 2012 or SQL 2014.

Select Database Engine Version To Download Download Link
 MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Install 32 or 64 Bit  Microsoft SQL 2008
 MS SQL Server 2012 Express Install 32 or 64 Bit  Microsoft SQL 2012
 MS SQL Server 2014 Express Install 32 or 64 Bit  Microsoft SQL 2014

3. Download and run the desired MS SQL Server installation file from your hard drive at the server.  Follow the installation dialogs and take the default options with three exceptions noted below. We recommend you make these changes during the installation of SQL Server Express.

a. Authentication Method: We strongly recommend you select “Mixed Mode Authentication” (SQL & Windows) and enter a password for the ‘sa’ login account.  Be sure to note the password you select for the ‘sa’ login to the SQL Server.  Mixed mode authentication will allow the program to connect to the SQL Server using Windows or SQL authentication.  If you do not select Windows and SQL authentication (mixed mode), your workstations will not likely be able to connect to the SQL Server.

b. Instance Configuration: We recommend you do not use instances which is the default.  You must specifically select the option that reads“Default Instance.”  This will allow the SQL Server to be referenced as the same name as the computer name on which it is installed.  If you must use instances, be sure to change or note the instance name (default is \SQLExpress) you select as you will need to reference it as your SQL Server database engine.

c. Server Startup: You will be prompted for the accounts and manner in which you want the SQL Server services to startup.  Be sure to select “Automatic” startup for the SQL Server service and select Automatic for the SQL Server Browser service.  The SQL Server Agent service is not used and does not matter for our software.

 Configuring and Starting SQL Server Database Engine

4. If you installed SQL Server 2005, SQL 2008 or later you need to configure SQL Server and restart the SQL Server service.  This only takes a few seconds but is very important.  To configure SQL Server, go to the Windows Start button and go to All Programs / Microsoft SQL Server / Configuration Tools and run SQL Server Configuration Manager.  Once in the configuration manager, click on SQL Server Services in the left panel and make sure SQL Server Service and Browser service are running in the right panel.

5. While in the Configuration Manager, you also need to turn on certain protocols which will enable your workstations to communicate with the SQL Server.  In the left panel, open each subsection and note if there is a subsection for Protocols.  At each Protocols section, you must enable Shared Memory, TCP/IP and Named Pipes.  To enable a protocol that is disabled, right click on it and left click on Enable.

6. Once you have enabled the above noted protocols in each subsection, left click on the SQL Server Services in the left panel and then right click on the SQL Server in the right panel.  Left click on the option to Restart the SQL Server and wait for it to restart.  Once the SQL Server is restarted and running, exit the SQL Configuration Manager.

Installing the Application – ExpressMaintenance

7. Download the ExpressMaintenance install file below to your hard drive on the computer where you have installed the SQL Server database engine.  You may also wish to download and install ExpressRequest.  Be sure to note the folder location where you place these files.

Note: Even if you are transferring to a new server and are running an older version, you need to download the latest release of the software.  When you first run ExpressMaintenance, your data will be upgraded to the current version.

ExpressMaintenance Downloads Download File Size
ExpressMaintenance  (maintenance application install) EMInstall.exe 37.2 MB
ExpressRequest (optional module application install) ERInstall.exe 14.1 MB

8. Once you have downloaded the ExpressMaintenance install file (EMInstall.exe), run the installation file and follow the prompts.  We recommend you accept the defaults including the default installation folder.  If you choose to change the installation folder, be sure to note the location you specify.  If you have purchased ExpressRequest, you will want to run that installation program as well.

Creating The ExpressMaintenance Database

9. Once ExpressMaintenance is installed, run the program at the server computer.  ExpressMaintenance will indicate that the SQL database could not be found and prompt to run the Create Database Utility.  Select Yes – Run the database creation application now.

Note: If you have existing ExpressMaintenance data from a prior server, you should copy your original data and log files from your old server and paste them in the ExpressMaintenance installation folder (default is C:\ExpressTech)  to overwrite the model files.  This will allow you to setup the new database using your existing data.  See the tech bulletin or help topic on Transferring Data for information on obtaining these files.  If this is a new installation without any prior ExpressMaintenance data, this note does not apply.

10. The Create Database Utility will appear as shown below.


11. To proceed with the creation of the ExpressMaintenance database, complete the fields as shown above.  Enter the name of your SQL Server name or search for it.  Enter the ‘sa’ password you entered when installing SQL Server.  Then click the Connect SQL button to make the connection to the SQL Server.  After the connection is made, click the Next button to proceed.

12. The next screen will appear giving you the option to select how you would like to create the new database.  If this is a new installation with a new database, select the 1st option, ‘Create an SQL database database and all tables by running an SQL script file.  If you are using existing data such as moving to a new server, select the 2nd option, ‘Create and SQL database using existing data and log files’. After selecting the method, click the Next button

13. Once you have select the method and click Next, the scrren will be different depending on the selection made.  If creating from a script file, you will be prompted for the script file name.  This should be entered for you.  You will also be prompted for the folder location where you want the data and log files to reside.  If you are using existing data and log files, you will be prompted for the location of these files.

Note: If you are using data and log fiiles that you previously had on another computer, you will need to select the correct data and log files from the folder where the files have been placed on the new server.  If you are transferring data but only have a backup file (.bak) rather than the actual data and log files, you should create a database using the models as if this were a new installation.  Once the database is created, you can then use the Restore option under Administration to restore your backup data over the new database.

14.  Once you have completed your selections, click the Create Database Now button.

15. Once the database is created, click the Close button to exit the Database Creation Application.

16. Now you are ready to run ExpressMaintenance.  Now run ExpressMaintenance again and it should connect without errors.  If this is a new installation, you will see the Registration Screen.  Email the serial number along with your company information to Express Technology.  We will verify your purchase and provide a permanent registration code.

If you purchased a multiple user license to ExpressMaintenance or ExpressRequest, you are now ready to setup shortcuts for workstations to access the program.  For more more information on setting up workstation shortcuts – click here.


If the program fails to create the database, you should check the following items:

1. Make sure you enter the correct SQL Server Name.  By default it is the Computer Name or ComputerName\SQLExpress (if using instances).

2.Make sure you are using the correct ‘sa’ login and password that was assigned during installation of the SQL Server.

3. Make sure you started the SQL Server service as outlined in steps four through seven in the section above.

4. If using SQL 2005, 2008 or later, make sure you have configured SQL Server as outlined in step 5 above.

If you are able to run ExpressMaintenance at the server but the workstations fail to connect to the SQL Server database, you should check the following items:

1. Make sure users have permission to read the ExpressMaintenance.ini file.

2. Make sure you have the SQL Server set to Windows and SQL Authentication (mixed mode).

3. If using SQL 2005, 2008 or later, make sure you have configured the SQL Server as outlined in steps 5 – 7 above.

4. ExpressMaintenance connects to the SQL Server using the SQL login account of ‘etuser’.  When the database is created, ExpressMaintenance will automatically setup this login for you.  However, if you need to setup the ‘etuser’ login manually, step by step instructions are available – click here.

Should you need to email our support department, please be specific about which steps you have completed and where you are having trouble as well as any error messages you are receiving.