I know it's clearly stated in System Requirements that Windows 7 is not supported. But I'm sure that these limitations are artificial to force users to buy newer versions of Windows. And also as I suppose there is no serious changes in system core. So I believe it could work. But now I get following messagebox:

enter image description here

So possible variant are:

  1. Are there any tricks or hacks that can either fake windows version (registy hacks, replace system dll etc)?
  2. Or are there any software to make SQL Server installer think that my windows verion is higher?
  3. Anything else.


I have Windows 7 SP1 x64. I'm familiar with virtual machine and upgrading to Windows 10 options but I don't like them. I want to find way just to overcome OS limitation. I don't find Windows 8/8.1/10 usable. Also I am talking about express edition of SQL Server.


Tried to downgrade to Windows 7 after upgrading to Windows 10 and installing SQL Server 2016 on Windows 10, but with no success (strange but after downgrade I don't see SQL Server 2016). So resorting to Virtual Machine seems the only option (by the way I'm using VMware, not VirtualBox).

  • 2
    The OS limitations might be artificial, but Windows 8 has a lot of change in APIs and new APIs support that might be required by MSSQL 2016. So even if you get it installed somehow, it might still not work. If you have a good enough PC than you should install W10 VM and install MS SQL 16 on that. That way you can just let it run in the background and use Windows 7 to connect to the VM. You have your usability of Windows 7 and wokability of Window 10.
    – echo_salik
    Dec 21, 2016 at 6:45
  • 1
    the best you will get on Windows 7 is SQL LocalDb 2016: stackoverflow.com/a/41466303/492
    – CAD bloke
    Jan 14, 2018 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


It appears the requirements for SQL 2016 you need windows 8 or greater. The reason may be because windows 7 is on extended support. This means that if you are not on service pack 1 it's already not supported by Microsoft.

For more detail on the requirements:


You also need to look at if your OS is 64bit. This is also another requirement for SQL 2016. I might have missed the version of SQL 2016 you're trying to install but since the developer edition is free I am going to assume that is the one.

OK so enough of the limitations. Now to get around your issue, if you truly need SQL 2016 rather than installing SQL 2014 or SQL 2012, both of which are supported by Windows 7.

Try running a virtual machine with the correct OS installed? Something like Oracle's virtualbox. This allows you to run a machine within a machine, and you can get a free trial copy of Windows 2008R2 or 2012R2 and then install SQL 2016.

VirtualBox can be found here: https://www.virtualbox.org/

The other option is to upgrade your OS? It's free to upgrade to windows 10 from Windows 7 permitting you have the correct requirements?

More info on the details can be found at this location on:


And here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgrade?tduid=(14c348e893a91089cb2980533c6ee123)(256380)(2459594)(TnL5HPStwNw-0FBZfNm6YPFXNhiu3o52rA)()


If you just want the database runtime for development you can install Visual Studio 2015 or 2017 and SQL Server data tools, which includes LocalDb, a development runtime version of the engine.

  • 1
    Yes i just tried it and it works, although I used SSMS and connected to (localdb)\ProjectsV13 Jul 21, 2017 at 10:41

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