I havea vcenter 5.5 that was installed using simple install. I moved the database from local sql expres to a remote db server on 2012r2. but now I want to stop the local sql epress services and its prompting me that vcenter services will be stopped. does sql express need to still run locally for vcenter to work?
Seems like you configured a dependency on vCenter services, what you need is remove this dependency and then stop the SQL Express instance.
Here is a VMware KB showing how to create the dependency, just follow theses steps BUT for remove the dependency: VMware KB: VMware VirtualCenter Server service does not start automatically after reboot