I recently installed a new virtual VMWare machine for development purposes. The machine has Windows 8.1 (64 bit), Visual Studio 2013 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition, all with latest updates.

Today I wanted to create a new Alias in the SQL Server Configuration Manager. I have previously done this for MS SQL 2012 on Windows 7 and it was straight forward. But on Windows 8.1 I was unpleasantly surprised. All dropdowns in SQL Server Configuration Manager properties are broken - they are narrow and do not display any options. Here is a screenshot:

Broken dropdown for Alias

I thought that only the Protocol dropdown is broken, but I noticed the same issue with other dropdowns, even for simple Yes/No values:

Broken dropdown for Alias

I've heard from some people that some programs render broken on Windows 8 (one example was Office Live Meeting which has cropped configuration dialog) but haven't seen something like this before.

I tried to disable 3D rendering for VMWare but that didn't help.

What is wrong with these dropdowns and how do I fix them?

  • What version of the configuration manager exactly?
    – Ramhound
    Apr 23, 2014 at 10:28
  • I'm not sure how to find the version of the configuration manager. It was installed with MS SQL Server 2012 with SP1 (full server version number is 11.0.3128.0). Apr 23, 2014 at 10:42
  • It is unfortunate that the makers of SQL Server can't be bothered to work more closely with Microsoft to ensure that their products work properly in newer versions of Windows. Apr 23, 2014 at 10:51
  • Are you using a "high-dpi" monitor? Apr 23, 2014 at 10:53
  • Currently resolution is 1366x768 and I haven't changed any other settings, I left them as they were "out of the box" but I'm not sure what VMWare video drivers did to the system. I asked some of my work colleagues and two of them reported the same problem. In one case it's on Windows 7 64 bit, but this person says that some months ago he didn't have the issue. Maybe some Windows or SQL Server update broke it.... Apr 23, 2014 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


I had the same issue, see this workaround, here:

Configuration Manager Snapin dropdownlists are broken: empty and gray.

Choose the Workarounds (1) and it reads:

Do not use the version of SQLServerManager11.msc in the C:\Windows\System32 directory on Windows 2012 64 bit (possibly extended this to any 64-bit OS?) the drop-down boxes are gray and inaccessible for the options.

Instead use the version in C:\Windows\SysWOW64 as it appears to avoid this issue.


Go to cmd and type run and paste the following cmd :


You can configure and the dropdown will be visible.

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