Is SQL Server Express a required component for BarTender to work? Does it depend on the BarTender Version in use? Which version of SQL Server Express is required?
In BarTender 2019 R5 and later, SQL Server is now optional for most standard operations. If you are installing BarTender 2019 R4 or earlier service release of 2019, SQL Server is required and must be installed for the software to operate. You also must install SQL Server with an instance named BarTender and cannot be any other named instance.
It is strongly recommended you download the most recent revision here on our download page or be on a later version of BarTender.
For BarTender 2016 and older versions, SQL Server was only prompted to be installed and required when certain BarTender compoents are installed. See more information below.
What Components of BarTender Still Require SQL Server?
With the changes in BarTender 2019 R5 and later, you are able to skip the SQL Server install and move all basic operations to LocalDB instead. However, there are still components that require SQL Server to operate. These include:
- BarTender System Database
- History Explorer and Reprint Console for print job logging
- BarTender Security settings, including permissions, logging, signatures, and encryption (if configured to be stored in the BarTender System Database)
- BarTender Print Portal (only for BarTender 2019 and older versions)
Installing SQL Server
By default, BarTender 2019 and later will attempt to install SQL Server Express as part of the installation package for our software.
- If you are having difficulties installing SQL Server, please see the following support article for assistance: Install BarTender SQL Server Express Manually. If you install SQL Server with the default specifications, the BarTender installer will find the install and create a BarTender instance automatically.
- With BarTender 2019 R5, SQL Server Express 2014 SP3 is included (newer versions of BarTender may include newer versions of SQL Server Express) to work with the deprecation of TSL 1.0.
- If MS SQL Server is not required, see the following section "Skipping the SQL Server Install" below.
Skipping the SQL Server Install
During the installation process, please do the following:
- On the welcome screen, check the box next to "Specify advanced installation options" and click Next
- On the Advanced Installation Options, uncheck the box next to "Add Microsoft SQL Server Express"
- Continue the installation like normal. The installer will skip the SQL installation. You may see INSTALL_SQL on the installer messages. This is a normal part of the installation process, and with the checkbox unchecked, the installer will simply move to the next step automatically without installing SQL on your system.
If you plan on using any of the features listed above, you will need to install SQL Server separately and set up a BarTender System Database (help topic).
Removing the SQL instance
If you need to remove the SQL instance for whatever reason, please follow the removal guide here: How do you uninstall the BarTender SQL instance?