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VB.Net 2.0, SQL Server 2000 & Windows Application SQL Error

By hagrin - Posted on 11 May 2007

Today, I started working on an application to perform bulk changes to our Deltek Vision database to change tasks, sub-tasks, budgets and billing terms. So, as I go to write the SQL connection string, something I have done 100s of times, I kept getting the following error from my app:

An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

While the error is pretty descriptive, there is one slight problem - I'm not trying to access a 2005 SQL Server, but a SQL Server 2000 box. So, I do what any good programmer does - he searches the major search engines for a solution, but most of the examples are of users trying to 1) build a Web application and have a web.config error or 2) are actually trying to access a SQL Server 2005 database. Yikes, now what?

I can't stress this enough - check your connection string. I was actually passing a blank Data Source (I was using SelectedValue as opposed to SelectedItem) and since I have SQLExpress running on my development machine, I assume that's why I was generating a 2005 error when trying, in theory, to connect to a SQL 2000 machine. The lesson is - verify your connection string when getting this error and trying to access a SQL 2000 machine. If you're trying to access a SQL 2005 machine, follow the enabling remote connections info that you'll find on the hundreds of pages that come up in he search engines for this error.