I can't connect to my SQL Server database

I have a 2nd computer that I've installed Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express on. I got it up and running with SQL Server Management Studio and created some tables and stuff.

But I want to be able to connect to it from my other PC, the one I usually work on in my home. But when I try to make a connection I get this error:

Now, I've checked a couple of things:

  • doing a \\SERVER in explorer from my computer works. So im guessing DNS is ok.
  • I've tried to turn the firewall on the server off, connect and back on again with no luck.
  • both SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS) and SQL Server Browser services are running (SQL Server Agent is not).
  • TCP on port 1433 is turned on.

Server name: SERVER is a result in the dropdown there.


1) It sounds like the instance you're trying to reach is SQL Express. In which case the instance will be called myserver\sqlexpress ("SQLEXPRESS" literal; case doesn't matter). "myserver" won't work with a "named instance"; "myserver\sqlexpress" might do the trick.

2) You MUST enable TCP/IP with the SQL Configuration tool (installed when you installed MSSQL and SSMS).

3) You should turn off the firewall (brute force - don't do it if you don't have to) or enable MSSQL in the firewall (MSSQL is not enabled by default)

'Hope that helps - please post back what you find.


Useful link:

Do you want to connect with Named Pipes or TCP/IP sockets? Please show a screen dump of the Advanced tab in the dialog. Maybe you can change to TCP/IP sockets if that is how you want to connect? SQL server needs to be configured to allow Named Pipes or TCP/IP sockets.

How to: Enable or Disable a Server Network Protocol

Choosing SQL Server's Network Protocol

Just use the Server Name in Add Connection Dialog in the following format. ComputerName/SQLEXPRESS

for example: MYPCNAME/SQLEXPRESS where MYPCNAME is computer name & SQLEXPRESS is MS SQL Server instance running on the computer.

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