Recently I had a customer who had installed SQL 2008 Express, and then wanted to install the Full Text option, but when they went to the add features the feature was missing.

So we downloaded the SQL 2008 Express with Advanced Services installer.  When you run that installer and try to add features to the existing installation:
it didn’t display the Full Text option, or Reporting Services option or anything else that is part of the Advanced tools.

If you re-run the setup and choose the option to create a new instance those features do show in the list of available options.  So what gives?

It turns out that Microsoft’s installer considers the SQL Express (without the advanced tools) to be a completely different Edition than the SQL Express (with advanced tools).  It’s like you had the Standard Edition installed and then ran the Enterprise edition setup and wondered why you couldn’t turn on the Enterprise features.  The answer is because the edition you’re trying to maintain isn’t the same as the installer – so it only shows you those features that DO exist for that edition.

In my real-world example, I can’t add the full text option from the “with advanced services” version of SQL Express to the standard SQL Express I had installed.

The solution that doesn’t require un-installing and re-installing:  On the main SQL installer screen choose the MAINTENANCE option, then choose the EDITION UPGRADE OPTION.

Here are the steps to follow broken down:

1. First – download the SQL 2008 Express with Advanced Services.  If you don’t have it yet, just go to and do a search for SQL 2008 Express with Advanced Services – or visit this blog post and click the link you need:

Once you’ve downloaded the file, you’ll notice it is much bigger than the regular SQL Express installer and has the letters “ADV” in the filename:

In this screen capture – notice that the filename is different and that the Size is VERY different – make sure you’re running the “ADV” file – the bigger one.

2. Choose the “Maintenance” option – not the “Installation” option, then choose “Edition Upgrade”:

After you realize that the reason you can’t add the Full text or reporting services option is because you’re not on the right edition, this actually makes sense – before you can install those options, you first need to tell it to upgrade the Edition to the Advanced Services edition.

Follow the wizard, pick your instance, and let it finish – should only take a few minutes.

3. Now go back to the Installation option, pick the “New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation” option, pick the now upgraded instance, and the option to choose Full Text and/or Reporting Services will appear!