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When I start SQL Server Managaemnt Studio (SSMS), I'm having a problem in connecting to the database.

What will be the 'server name' if my computer's name is Rakesh?

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Is the sql server you're trying to connect to on a different computer or your own? If it's on the machine you're launching the management studio from it is likely 'localhost' or which you want to input. If it's another server, put the IP address or DNS name of that remote server. –  Abraxas May 30 at 23:26

4 Answers 4

The server name in SQL Management studio often consists of two parts.

Firstly, there is the portion that identifies the computer, followed by the portion which identifies the SQL instance.

When you install MSSQL Server to your computer, you install an 'instance' which typically has a name associated with it. You may have multiple instances, and you can even elect one of these to be the 'default instance' which is used if no instance name is specified.

As mentioned in other answers, you can browse for an instance using the 'Server Name' drop down box, but this may only work if the Browsing service is enabled on the computer you wish to connect to.

To enable SQL Server Browser, Enable and start the windows service "SQL Server Browser". This should make your instances discoverable. Learn about it here

The Server name syntax is typically Machine\Instance To identify your own machine, you may use 'COMPUTERNAME', 'IPADDRESS', 'localhost', '', or '.' (which is my preference).

For example:

  • To connect to the default instance, use .
  • To connect to instance 'MySQLservice' on Computer 'BobsComputer' BobsComputer\MySQLservice

If you don't know your installations instance name, you can discover it by opening SQL Server Configuration Manager from your servers start menu. Within the tree, select 'SQL Server Services' and take note of the instance IDs which appear in brackets adjacent to each 'SQL Server' service.

If you are having trouble connecting to a database server, ensure your firewall is configured correctly on the server. Sometimes it is best to temporarily disable the firewall when working through issues like this.

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Under servername, type either

.\ is the same as localhost and from your fairly cryptic question I assume it is being accessed locally?

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The server name instance can be specified during SQL Server installation. If you haven't specified any, it's (local). If you don't know what your Server name is:

  1. When you start SSMS, in the Connect to Server dialog, click to expand Server name list
  2. The last item in the drop-down list is Browse for more. Click it

  3. You'll get a new dialog - Browse for Servers. In the Local Servers tab, expand database Engines

All SQL Server instances installed on your local machine are listed here. Select the one you want and make sure you provide valid credentials.

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If it's your personal computer, use any of the following for server name without the quotes:

  1. "(local)"
  2. ""
  3. "."
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