How to Use the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor Tool

Upgrading from the previous version of SQL Server to a newer version is always a challenging task for a Database Administrator. In order to improve the SQL Server 2008 upgrade experience, Microsoft introduced a free tool called SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor (SSUA). This tool basically does the analysis of installed components of the earlier SQL Server versions, and generates a report which has details about the issues that need to be fixed either before or after you upgrade to SQL Server 2008.

Features of SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor helps database administrators analyze the existing instances of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 databases. It identifies features and configuration changes that might affect your successful upgrade to SQL Server 2008. Once the entire analysis is done by the tool, it documents all the upgrade issues along with providing a link for issue resolution. The tool also identifies all potential upgrade blockers that might occur during or after the upgrade without actually performing the actual upgrade. Database Administrators should utilize this wonderful tool during the upgrade planning phase of the project to analyze SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 instances. This tool can analyze different components of SQL Server such as SQL Server, Analysis Services, Notification Services, Reporting Services, Data Transformation Services, Integration Services, Scripts and SQL Trace Files. I strongly recommend using this tool in advance to avoid any last minute surprises during the actual upgrade.

How Upgrade Advisor Internally Works
The Upgrade Advisor tool internally utilizes inbuilt rules to identify the potential upgrade blockers. The inbuilt rules are nothing but scenarios which could stop customers from upgrading from the existing version of SQL Server to a higher version. The results after the analysis are logged in an XML file, which can be viewed by using the Upgrade Advisor Report Viewer.

Prerequisites for Installing and Running Upgrade Advisor: 

  • The .Net Framework 2.0 or a later version
  • Windows Installer 4.5 or a later version
  • Windows Server 2003 SP 1 or a later version, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP SP2 or a later version, Windows Vista

Download Link for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor Tool
SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor Tool is available as a free download from the following link:

You can also get the installation copy of SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor Tool from “ServersRedistUpgrade Advisor” folder of the SQL Server installation media.

Using SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor Tool
After the successful installation of SSUA you can access it from Start menu – Click Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 | SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor.

On the “Welcome to SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor” screen there are three options namely Read more about Upgrade Advisor, Check for updates and Read more about Upgrade Issues. I advise you to check for latest updates before using the tool, as Microsoft keep adding new rules and functionality to the tool to provide better customer experience while upgrade to a higher versions of SQL Server.

In the same screen you can see two more links to the wizards namely “Launch Upgrade Advisor Analysis Wizard” and “Launch Upgrade Advisor Report Viewer”. The “Launch Upgrade Advisor Report Viewer” will launch the report viewer from where you can see reports which were earlier generated by this tool in the previous analysis. You need to click on Launch Upgrade Advisor Analysis Wizard option to launch the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor Analysis Wizard as shown in the below snippet.

Click Next to see SQL Server Components screen where you will be asked to select the SQL Server Components which you want to analyze using this tool. In the Server Name textbox provide the name of the SQL Server which needs to be analyzed. 


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