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Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade

Before you begin the task of moving your data from one SQL server to another, it will be beneficial (and necessary) to install all of the updates for SQL server.  Although during the process of moving the data from one SQL server to another, we won't be using the same server or upgrading SQL on the existing box (i.e. SQL 2012 -> SQL 2016).  While this may add extra time to the process, it will ensure that your current version of SQL is up-to-date and that the data should be able to be imported without any issues.

In case you do have to upgrade the SQL Server software itself (i.e. SQL 2012 -> SQL 2016), do a Google Search for "sql upgrade paths" and choose the version of SQL that you are upgrading to.  To determine what version of SQL you are currently running, run this SQL query on your database:

select @@version

This will tell you the current version of your database and what service pack level you are at.

GOTCHA:  If you are upgrading to SQL 2016 or higher, you will have to download the SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) for that version.

GOTCHA:  If you are upgrading SQL Server on an existing server, take note of what OS is supported.  When I recently upgraded the Finance Server (which at the time of this writing is running 2012 R2, I could only upgrade it to SQL Server 2016).