I just installed SQL Server Standard Edition with the Management Studio. I'm able to connect to my SQL server instance but I can't connect to a SQL Server Express instance on a remote computer.

Is the Management Studio Standard able to connect to an Express database or do I have to install the SQL Server Management Studio Express ?

I used to be able to connect to the remote instance under Vista but I installed 7 recently and I can't remember if I installed the Express version of the management studio under Vista...

I should also add that I can connect to the remote database using Visual Studio 2008's Server Explorer.

EDIT: I am still unable to connect to this specific instance...
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm connected to the server via a VPN connection?
Also, are Visual Studio and SSMS using the same provider? Could it have something to do with that?

3 Answers 3


Make sure the Express instance is configured to accept remote connections, check here for details; the standard SSMS can connect to Express instances without a problem.

  • The remote instance is configured correctly since I can connect to it through Visual Studio's Server Explorer May 28, 2009 at 12:46
  • Besided double checking the connection parameters for server name and instance names in SSMS, I would try connecting with SQLCMD -S servername\instancename from a dos prompt and see if that works.
    – SqlACID
    May 28, 2009 at 13:40

Firstly make sure the browser service is running on the remote server - Also make sure you are using servername\sqlexpressname


For those who don't know the Browser service allows clients to see Named Instances, which SQLEXpress (by default) creates a named instance called SERVERNAME\SQLExpress. Without browser service running you won't be able to see it remotely. Also let the service run as Network Service (or trusted AD account is preferred, admin rights not needed) so you can see it without issue over your network.

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