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Solve SQL Server Connection Error 26 - Error Locating Server/Instance Specified

While SQL Server client unable to establish connection to server, or SQL network interfaces error 26 occurs, you cannot locate server or instance specified, how to resolve it?

In following article, solutions will be provided to fix SQL Server connection error 26 occurring in SQL Server 2005/2008.

  1. Part 1: Resolve SQL Server 2005 Connection Error 26
  2. Part 2: Solutions to Error Locating Server/Instance Specified in SQL Server 2008

Part 1: Resolve SQL Server 2005 Connection Error 26

If it is just because of failed remote connection, try this way to open SQL Server 2005 remote connection.
Open Remote Connection in SQL Server Surface Area Configuration.

1. Open SQL Server Surface Area Configuration in Start > All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2005 > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Surface Area Configuration.

open SQL Server Surface Area Configuration

2. Navigate to Surface Area Configuration for Services and Connections > Database Engine > Remote Connections. Choose Local and remote connections and click Apply and OK to confirm these changes.

enable SQL Server local and remote connections

3. Restart SQL Server Services and connect SQL Server to server or instance specified.

If for wrong server name or instance, please add instance name after server name "\". Or remove "\" and instance after it, or directly type "." after server name.

Part 2: Solutions to Error Locating Server/Instance Specified in SQL Server 2008

After installing SQL Server 2008 on computer, if directly connect to server or instance specified, probably you would encounter such a problem.

Provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 - Error Locating Server/Instance Specified

In fact, as long as we know that that remote connection and SA account are disabled in SQL Server 2008 by default, solving this problem is still easy.

1. Steps to Configure SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

Step 1: Open SSMS and connect to SQL Server with Windows Authentication. Right-click SQL Server and choose Properties.

open SQL Server properties window

Step 2: Select Security option in left pane, and check "SQL Server and Windows Authentication" in the right pane to enable Mixed Authentication mode.

enable Mixed Authentication mode

Step 3: Select Connections option in the left side and tick "Allow remote connections to this server" in the right side. Click OK. Close Server Properties window.

allow remote connections to server

Step 4: Navigate to Security > Logins > sa. Right-click on "sa" account and choose Properties.

open sa account properties window

Step 5: Choose "SQL Server authentication" in the right pane and enter password in Password and Confirm password box for sa account logon.

enable sa account for SQL Server logon

Step 6: Click Status option in Login Properties window, and check Enabled to make SA account available for SQL Server connection. Click OK to finish SSMS configuration.

2. Steps to Configure SQL Server Configuration Manager (SSCM)

Step 1: Open SSCM and choose "SQL Server Services" in the left pane. Make sure SQL Server and SQL Server Browser is running.

confirm SQL Server and SQL Server browser running

Step 2: Double-click TCP/IP to open its properties setting window.

open TCP/IP properties setting window

Step 3: Change it to be Enabled. Choose IP Addresses tab, set the PCP port 1433. And then enable TCP/IP in Client Protocols.

change TCP/IP settings

enable TCP/IP

Generally, you can connect to server or instance now. But please check whether have added SQL Server to allowed programs in Windows Firewall. Otherwise, probably because of this reason, you still cannot connect to server or instance specified successfully.

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