Using Lower Version SSMS to Connect to Higher Version of SQL Server Instance

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SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is one of the most useful and important tool for SQL Server DBAs to manage the SQL Server instances. Without SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), it will be very difficult for DBAs to perform their daily duties or troubleshooting any issues with SQL Server instances.

One of the doubt or question many DBAs or Developers have regarding the SQL Server Management Studio is that weather they can connect to a SQL Server Instance of higher version using the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) of lower version.

For Example, Can we cannot to SQL Server 2014 instance using the SQL Server 2012 SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)?

Yes, we can definitely connect to lower higher version of SQL Server instance using the lower version SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). In our example, we can certainly connect to SQL Server 2014 instance using the SQL Server 2012 SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), however certain features cannot be used or does not work. With every version of SQL Server, new features are introduced, so the old SSMS cannot know about the new features, thus fails while accessing the new features from old Management Studio.

As a best practice, it is always good to use latest version to SSMS to connect to any version of SQL Server instance. Latest version of SSMS will have no problem connecting to lower versions of SQL Server instances. You can access all features of lower version SQL Server instance features using the higher version SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). If there are any features which are retired or removed in the new version of SQL Server, still the Management Studio mostly will work when using those features for lower version SQL Server instances. In special cases, we may have to use lower version SSMS to connect to lower version SQL Server instances.

This is applicable on below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2005
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2014

Hope this was helpful.

Thanks,
SQLServerF1 Team
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