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I'm having an issue getting the linked server to connect between a desktop and my laptop. Both have SQL server 2008 and the link is coming from the desktop to my laptop. Also, both computers have Windows 7. I don't have any issues creating the linked server from my laptop to the desktop. The error I'm getting is "Login failed for user '[UserName]'. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 18456)." I let the user name out for security reasons. The user is an sa on both SQL servers and an admin on both computers. Does anyone have an idea what could be stopping me from creating the linked server from the desktop to my laptop?

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Are you using a Windows account or a SQL Server account? – darin strait May 31 '12 at 19:11
@darinstrait i'm using a SQL Server account to log in. – norlando May 31 '12 at 19:38
Can you post the value for "state" that should be part of the 18456 error message? The state value can provide more detail about the exact cause of the problem. – darin strait Jun 1 '12 at 20:48

Sounds like what ever account you've specified in the linked server on the desktop doesn't exist, or is typed incorrectly compared to what is in the laptop's SQL Server.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I figured out what the issue was. The instance of SQL Server 2008 on my laptop had the "Server authentication" set to "Windows Authentication mode" instead of "SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode." Once I switch my laptop to "SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode" the linked server worked just fine.

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