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SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 3: Why You Should Get It Now


How to Download and Install the Latest Service Pack for SQL Server 2016




If you are using SQL Server 2016, you may want to update it to the latest service pack available, which is Service Pack 3 (SP3). This article will guide you through the steps of downloading and installing SP3 for SQL Server 2016, as well as explaining what a service pack is and why you need it.


What is a Service Pack and Why You Need It




A service pack is a collection of updates, fixes, and enhancements for a software product that are released together. Service packs help keep your software current, secure, and stable. They also may include new features and functionality that improve the performance and usability of your software.




download latest service pack for sql server 2016



SQL Server 2016 SP3 is the latest and final service pack for SQL Server 2016. It was released on September 15, 2021, and it includes all the cumulative updates from SP2 CU1 to SP2 CU17, as well as new functional and supportability enhancements. It can be applied to any edition and service level of SQL Server 2016.


Benefits of SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 3




Some of the benefits of applying SQL Server 2016 SP3 are:


  • Performance and scale improvements, such as improved database backup performance on large memory machines and added backup compression support.



  • Supportability and diagnostics enhancements, such as improved troubleshooting and additional information about statistics used during query plan optimization.



  • Access to innovative features across performance, security, and analytics that were not previously available in Express or Standard editions, such as in-memory OLTP tables, in-memory columnstore, Always Encrypted, row-level security, dynamic data masking, R Services, and PolyBase.



  • Compatibility with the latest versions of Windows Server, Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Managed Instance, and Azure Synapse Analytics.



  • Cumulative updates that address various issues that were reported by customers and the SQL Server community.



Common Issues with SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 3




Although SQL Server 2016 SP3 is designed to improve your experience with SQL Server 2016, you may encounter some issues during or after the installation. Some of the common issues are:


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  • If you use the Change Tracking feature, you might encounter errors. For more information, see KB 5007039 before you apply this update package.



  • If you add a database engine feature after you apply SP3, you should update the new feature to the same level as the program instance before you apply any new cumulative updates.



  • If you install SP3 on a failover cluster instance or an availability group, you may receive network path was not found or other error messages if Remote Registry Service or admin shares are disabled. For more information, see KB 4458871.



  • If you encounter any setup errors caused by missing installer files in Windows cache, see KB 969052 for troubleshooting steps.



  • If you encounter any errors related to database engine system data directory or user log directory in the registry being invalid, see KB 955725 for resolution steps.



How to Check Your SQL Server 2016 Version and Edition




Before you download and install SQL Server 2016 SP3, you should check your current SQL Server 2016 version and edition to make sure that you are eligible for the update. There are several ways to check your SQL Server 2016 version and edition, such as using Object Explorer in SQL Server Management Studio, using the error log file, or using SQL queries.


Using Object Explorer in SQL Server Management Studio




One of the easiest ways to check your SQL Server 2016 version and edition is to use Object Explorer in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). SSMS is a graphical tool that allows you to manage and administer your SQL Server instances and databases. To use Object Explorer in SSMS, follow these steps:


  • Open SSMS and connect to your SQL Server instance.



  • In the Object Explorer pane, right-click on your SQL Server instance and select Properties.



  • In the General page of the Server Properties dialog box, you can see the Product, Product Level, Edition, Version, and other information about your SQL Server instance.



The Product Level shows the service pack level of your SQL Server instance. For example, if it says SP2, it means that you have SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 installed. The Version shows the build number of your SQL Server instance. For example, if it says 13.0.5026.0, it means that you have SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU17 installed. You can compare your build number with the list of build numbers for SQL Server 2016 to see which cumulative update you have.


Using the Error Log File




Another way to check your SQL Server 2016 version and edition is to use the error log file. The error log file is a text file that records the startup information and error messages of your SQL Server instance. To use the error log file, follow these steps:


  • Open SSMS and connect to your SQL Server instance.



  • In the Object Explorer pane, expand Management, and then expand SQL Server Logs.



  • Right-click on the current error log file (the one with no number) and select View SQL Server Log.



  • In the Log File Viewer window, scroll to the top of the log file and look for the line that starts with "Microsoft SQL Server". You can see the Product, Edition, Version, Language, and other information about your SQL Server instance.



The Version shows the build number of your SQL Server instance. For example, if it says 13.0.5026.0, it means that you have SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU17 installed. You can compare your build number with the list of build numbers for SQL Server 2016 to see which cumulative update you have.


Using SQL Queries




A third way to check your SQL Server 2016 version and edition is to use SQL queries. You can run SQL queries in SSMS or any other tool that can connect to your SQL Server instance and execute T-SQL statements. To use SQL queries, follow these steps:


  • Open SSMS or any other tool that can connect to your SQL Server instance and execute T-SQL statements.



  • Run one of the following queries to get the information about your SQL Server instance:



  • SELECT @@VERSION: This query returns a single result set that contains the Product, Edition, Version, Language, Platform, and other information about your SQL Server instance.



  • SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('ProductVersion'): This query returns a single value that contains the build number of your SQL Server instance.



  • SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('ProductLevel'): This query returns a single value that contains the service pack level of your SQL Server instance.



  • SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('Edition'): This query returns a single value that contains the edition of your SQL Server instance.



The ProductLevel shows the service pack level of your SQL Server instance. For example, if it says SP2, it means that you have SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 installed. The ProductVersion shows the build number of your SQL Server instance. For example, if it says 13.0.5026.0, it means that you have SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU17 installed. You can compare your build number with the list of build numbers for SQL Server 2016 to see which cumulative update you have.


How to Download SQL Server How to Download SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 3




Once you have checked your SQL Server 2016 version and edition, you can proceed to download SQL Server 2016 SP3. There are two ways to download SQL Server 2016 SP3: from Microsoft Update or Windows Server Update Services, or from Microsoft Download Center.


From Microsoft Update or Windows Server Update Services




If you have enabled automatic updates on your Windows operating system, you can download SQL Server 2016 SP3 from Microsoft Update or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). This is the recommended method for applying service packs, as it ensures that your system is up to date with the latest security and quality updates. To download SQL Server 2016 SP3 from Microsoft Update or WSUS, follow these steps:


  • On your Windows operating system, open Control Panel and click on System and Security.



  • Click on Windows Update and check for updates.



  • If SQL Server 2016 SP3 is available, select it and click on Install updates.



Follow the instructions on the screen to complete


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