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I am trying to connect to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 from Excel 2007. When it tries to connect I get the error:

[DBNETLIB][ConnectionOpen (Invalid Instance()).]Invalid connection.

Steps to Reproduce

  • On the Data tab, in the Get External Data group, click From Other Sources, and then click From SQL Server:

enter image description here

  • type the name of the SQL Server computer in the Server name box.

  • To enter a database user name and password, click Use the following User Name and Password, and then type your user name and password in the corresponding User Name and Password boxes:

enter image description here

Additional information

  • I can connect to SQL Server from SQL Server Management Studio:
    enter image description here

  • I can connect to SQL Server with telnet:

    C:\Users\Ian>telnet avenger 1433
  • SQL Server is listening on port 1433:
    enter image description here

  • Excel does connect, and receive response traffic from the SQL Server:
    enter image description here

  • I can ping the server:

    C:\Users\Ian>ping avenger
    Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=128
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    Ping statistics for
        Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 1ms, Average = 0ms
  • Trying to connect by IP address (rather than by name) has no effect:
    enter image description here

  • Windows Firewall is not running on the server:
    enter image description here

share|improve this question
Although it's been a while, thanks for including so much detail. – Aug 14 '11 at 1:31
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I would hazard a guess that you're actually using a named instance and the SQL Native client allows you to get away with using AVENGER as the server name but the DBNETLIB (which I believe is the old SQL Client) is more demanding.

Are you sure it's not AVENGER\SQLEXPRESS,1433?

share|improve this answer
Turns out it is that. It should be noted that simply AVENGER\SQLEXPRESS didn't work; i had to include the (standard) port. – Ian Boyd Jul 25 '11 at 11:00
More hazardous guesses, but the computer that Excel is running on cannot communicate with the SQL Browser service on the server (or the service is not running). – Jul 26 '11 at 2:42

I had the same problem.

An old application had registered an old version of SQLOLEDB.DLL in


Fixed by running these commands:

regsvr32 "c:\Program Files\Common Files\System\Ole DB\sqloledb.dll"  


del c:\WINDOWS\system32\sqloledb.dll
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