How to Download and Install SQL Server for Windows (FREE)

What is SQL Server?

SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. SQL Server supports ANSI SQL, which is the standard Structured Query Language. However, SQL Server comes with its implementation of the SQL language, T-SQL (Transact-SQL). It is primarily designed and developed to compete with MySQL and Oracle databases.


Principally, MS SQL server download for Windows 10 requires:

.Net Framework, 1GB of recommended memory, and NTFS system.

How to download SQL Server Setup

Below is a step by step process on how to download SQL server on Windows 10:

Step 1) Go to URL: for download Microsoft SQL server.

Microsoft provides two specialized free SQL download editions to work on MS SQL server:

  1. Developer – It has all feature which MS SQL server offers but we cannot use it in production. From the learning perspective, is it an ideal candidate to start.
  2. Express: This is also a free SQL server download version but with the limited set of features with no business intelligence applications.

We will select the Developer edition to download the Microsoft SQL server for installation.

Step 2) Click on “Download now”

Download SQL Server Setup

We will get SQL server installation set up as ‘SQLServer2017-SSEI-Dev.exe’ on a Windows environment, ensuring compatibility and optimized performance for SQL Server Windows applications.

Download SQL Server Setup

How to Install Microsoft SQL Server

Here is a step by step process on how to install SQL in Windows 10:

Step 1) Open the .exe file

Double click on “SQLServer2017-SSEI-Dev.exe”. Below screen will appear with three options: Basic, Custom and Download files.

Install SQL Server

Step 2) Choose the version

Choose the basic version by clicking on the ‘Basic’ option, as it has all default configuration required to learn MS SQL.

Install SQL Server

Step 3) Accept the terms

‘Microsoft Server License Terms’ screen will appear. Read the License Terms and then click ‘Accept.’

Install SQL Server

Step 4) Choose the location

Below ‘SQL server install location’ window will appear, which is a crucial step in the Microsoft SQL Server install process.

  1. The Default location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server.
  2. Optionally, we canalso change the installation location by clicking on Browse.3. Once the location is selected, click the ‘Install’ button to start SQL installation Windows 10.

Install SQL Server

Below ‘Downloading install package’ progress screen will be displayed. Wait until the SQL software download is complete.

Install SQL Server

Once, the download is complete; the system will initiate installing developer edition.

Install SQL Server

Below screen show installation progress.

Install SQL Server

Step 5) Finish the installation process

Once installation is completed successfully, below screen will appear.

Install SQL Server

This setup is self-sufficient for proceeding further with learning SQL server, and we can ‘Close’ this window.

However, below is a summary of the label and button:

  1. Instance name: This is by default labeled as MSSQLSERVER.
  2. Connect now: This will open a separate command line window for connection testing of what we have just installed.The system will run by default ‘select @@Version’ statement to confirm that we can connect to new MSSQLSERVER instance successfully.
  3. Install SQL Server

    1. Customize: This will open the SQL Installation center to customize further and add feature other than which are there as a part of the BASIC installation.
    2. Install SSMS: This is IDE which will take us to Microsoft SSMS download link. We will cover SSMS in detail in our SSMS tutorial.
    3. Close: This will close this window. The user is now ready to install SSMS IDE as instructed in SSMS tutorial.