How to Enable Remote Connections SQL 2008 Express

“Cannot connect to SQL-Server-Instance-Name: An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2008, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections.”

Sound Familiar?

As default SQL 2008 Express installs with the SQL Browser service and SQL Agent disabled and as the browser service listens for incoming requests for Microsoft SQL Server resources and also provides information on the available instances to the network, we need to enable and start it.

  • OpenSQL Server Configuration Manager and highlight SQL Server Services
  • Right click on SQL Server Browser and select Properties
  • Under theService tab change the Start Mode to Automatic
  • Click apply then return to theLog On tab and click Start then Ok

That is basically it, once TCP/IP is enabled and the SQL Browser is running you will be able to see the instance from other machines on your network.

Also, it’s worth noting that if you’ve already had a fiddle you may need to double check that you have still got Allow remote connections to this server enabled on the instance options. Here’s how to check:

  • Open Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and connect to the desired instance.
  • Right click on the instance node and click Properties
  • Click on Connections and check that Allow remote connections to this server is checked and you haven’t limited your maximum number of connections over drastically

Warning: When stopping and starting SQL services it is worth making sure that the databases are not in use so as not to effect any live systems.


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