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Connect to Server (Database Engine)

Use this dialog to view or specify options when connecting to Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine. In most cases, you can connect by entering the computer name of the database server in the Server name box and then clicking Connect. If you are connecting to SQL Server Express, use the computer name followed by \sqlexpress.

Many factors can affect your ability to connect to SQL Server.

Server type

When registering a server from Object Explorer, select the type of server to connect to: Database Engine, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, or Integration Services. The rest of the dialog shows only the options that apply to the selected server type. When registering a server from Registered Servers, the Server type box is read-only, and matches the type of server displayed in the Registered Servers component. To register a different type of server, select Database Engine, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, SQL Server Compact, or Integration Services from the Registered Servers toolbar before starting to register a new server.

Server name

Select the server instance to connect to. The server instance last connected to is displayed by default.

Note Note

To connect to an active user instance of SQL Server Express connect using named pipes protocol specifying the pipe name, such as np:\\.\pipe\3C3DF6B1-2262-47\tsql\query For more information, see the SQL Server Express documentation.


Two authentication modes are available when connecting to an instance of the Database Engine.

Windows Authentication Mode (Windows Authentication)

Microsoft Windows Authentication mode allows a user to connect through a Windows user account.

SQL Server Authentication

When a user connects with a specified login name and password from a non-trusted connection, SQL Server performs the authentication itself by checking to see if a SQL Server login account has been set up and if the specified password matches the one previously recorded. If SQL Server does not have a login account set, authentication fails, and the user receives an error message.

Security note Security Note

When possible, use Windows Authentication.

User name

Enter the user name to connect with. This option is only available if you have selected to connect using Windows Authentication.


Enter the login to connect with. This option is only available if you have selected to connect using SQL Server Authentication.


Enter the password for the login. This option is only editable if you have selected to connect using SQL Server Authentication.


Click to connect to the server selected above.


Click to display additional server connection options, such as registering a server and remembering the password.

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