Cannot Log in Remotely to SQL Server Express

SQL Server Express 2008 does not allow remote connections by default.  This is done by design as SQL Express is often used either as a development tool, or as a local installation for resident applications.  Another thing to note, is that SQL Express uses dynamic ports by default so in order to connect, The SQL Server Browser service needs to be started on the same machine that Express is installed on.

Below are the steps to perform:

  1. Enable TCP Connections for SQL Server Express
    • Start -> Programs -> Microsoft SQL Server 200x -> Configuration Tool -> SQL Server Configuration Manager
    • Expand SQL Server Network Configuration
    • Click Protocols for SQLExpress
    • In the right hand pane, right click TCP/IP and choose ‘Enable’
  2. Make sure SQL Server Browser Service is started. Without this service enabled, you will not be able to connect (unless you specified a static TCP port).

As long as you do not have any firewall issues, you should be able to connect

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