ODBC Driver 13.1 for SQL Server – Windows Released

We are pleased to announce the full release of the Microsoft ODBC Driver 13.1 for SQL Server! The updated driver provides robust data access to Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database for C/C++ based applications.

What’s new

Always Encrypted

You can now use Always Encrypted with the Microsoft ODBC Driver 13.1 for SQL Server. Always Encrypted is a new SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database security feature that prevents sensitive data from being seen in plaintext in a SQL instance. You can now transparently encrypt the data in the application, so that SQL Server or Azure SQL Database will only handle the encrypted data and not plaintext values. If a SQL instance or host machine is compromised, an attacker can only access ciphertext of your sensitive data. Use the ODBC Driver 13.1 to encrypt plaintext data and store the encrypted data in SQL Server 2016 or Azure SQL Database. Likewise, use the driver to decrypt your encrypted data.

Azure Active Directory (AAD)

AAD authentication is a mechanism of connecting to Azure SQL Database v12 using identities in AAD. Use AAD authentication to centrally manage identities of database users and as an alternative to SQL Server authentication. The ODBC Driver 13.1 allows you to specify your AAD credentials in the ODBC connection string to connect to Azure SQL DB.

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)

IDNs allow your web server to use Unicode characters for server name, enabling support for more languages. Using the new Microsoft ODBC Driver 13.1 for SQL Server, you can convert a Unicode serverName to ASCII compatible encoding (Punycode) when required during a connection.

AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AG)

The driver now supports transparent connections to AlwaysOn Availability Groups. The driver quickly discovers the current AlwaysOn topology of your server infrastructure and connects to the current active server transparently.

Note: You can also download ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server from the download center. ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server was released with SQL Server 2016 and does not include new features such as Always Encrypted and Azure Active Directory Authentication.

Next steps

You can download the ODBC Driver 13.1 for SQL Server here.


We are committed to bringing more feature support for connecting to SQL ServerAzure SQL Database and Azure SQL DW. We invite you to explore the latest the Microsoft Data Platform has to offer via a trial of Microsoft Azure SQL Database or by trying the new SQL Server 2016.

Please stay tuned for upcoming releases that will have additional feature support. This applies to our wide range of client drivers including PHP 7.0JDBC and ADO.NET which are already available.


Meet Bhagdev (meetb@microsoft.com)

Comments (13)
  1. Mrudang Vora says:

    1) Have downloaded the rpm files for the driver as well mssql tools on Amazon Linux AMI.
    Have installed them successfully along with dependency unixODBC-2.3.4 (but not sure path where files are installed).
    Was unable to find after install documentation for enabling this driver.
    2) Am sure that we have to include some .so files in php.ini (but not sure which) to enable driver.
    Could you please help?
    (More details: http://serverfault.com/q/840067/405368)

    1. Meet Bhagdev says:

      The ODBC Driver + tools requires RedHat 6 and above. Did you follow these steps: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/sqlnativeclient/2017/02/04/odbc-driver-13-1-for-linux-released/.

      1. Mrudang Vora says:

        Thanks for the response. I did follow the steps mentioned in the link but was able to install the driver only after disabling priorities by editing /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/priorities.conf and setting enabled = 0.

        But that’s not the problem. The problem is “what next” after installation?
        How do we enable this driver?
        Do we need to do some settings in php.ini to include it as an extension?
        Where are the *. so files of this driver? Do we need to place them in extension folder?
        Could you please help on after installation documentation?

    1. Meet Bhagdev says:

      We shipped a fix for this. Can you download the latest binaries here and let us know if you still run into this issue? https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53339

  2. Jim says:

    I tried to upgrade to this driver, but it doesn’t seem to connect to LocalDB. Is it supposed to? v11 worked like a charm.

    1. Meet Bhagdev says:

      What is the error you are running into?

      1. Jakub Marsik says:


        I’m also unable to connect with this ODBC driver (and therefore with sqlcmd.exe 13.1 / 13.0 that uses this driver) to LocalDB instance (non-shared or shared, it does not matter) by using “(LocalDB)\NameOfLocalDBInstance” server name. It works with named pipes, for example by using “np:\\.\pipe\LOCALDB#1112C84E\tsql\query” as server name.

        It’s probably related with this: https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/2637102/odbc-driver-13-for-sql-server-cannot-connect-to-localdb-instance

        The result is this error:

        Sqlcmd: Error: Microsoft ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server : SQL Server Network Interfaces: The system cannot find the file specified.
        Sqlcmd: Error: Microsoft ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server : Login timeout expired.
        Sqlcmd: Error: Microsoft ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server : A network-related or instance-specific error has occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. Server is not found or not accessible. Check if instance name is correct and if SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. For more information see SQL Server Books Online..

        It’s disappointing that such error is left unrepaired for such a long time 🙁

        Jakub Marsik

      2. Meet Bhagdev says:

        We shipped a fix for this. Can you download the latest binaries here and let us know if you still run into this issue? https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53339

  3. Aswin R says:

    Hello, Does the new driver support connecting to Named instances of MS SQL Server using dynamic ports? Thank you

    1. Meet Bhagdev says:

      Hello Srinivasan, I will take a look.

  4. William says:

    When an application needs drivers to connect to SQL server 2014, we have been mounting the SQL Server Installation Media, running setup, and selecting “Client Tools Connectivity.” Does the ODBC driver 13.1 replace that? Would I need to install both 32 and 64bit versions?


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