I have a Windows Home Server connected to my home network on which I have just installed SQL Server 2008 R2, I am aiming to connect to the SQL Server installation from my laptop using SQL Management Studio using my Windows Credentials (I selected mixed mode authentication during installation).

I have a few questions about both the installation and connection:

  1. What is the default instance and how is it used within SQL Server?
  2. In the connection screen on my laptop I can select my server itself as a database engine, is this correct?
  3. When I try to connect via step three I receive a timeout error, (Error number -2), how would I go about fixing this?

I hope I have provided enough information, feel free to let me know if you need anything else.

Thanks for your time.

Solution (Expanded from Ganesh R.):

After following some of the guidance by Ganesh it led me to this article:

SQL Server Connection Error

The problem was my Home Server was blocking any attempt to connect to the database due to Windows firewall, one exception rule later and it works great!

2 Answers 2


From what you mentioned, it seems there are two machines:

A. Your home server with SQL 2008 R2.

B. Your laptop with SQL Management Studio.

Points to remember:

  1. What edition of SQL 2008 R2 did you install on the home server? Is it full version (STD/ENTERPRISE) or express? If it is full version, then by default, the default instance is installed. Else named instance is installed. (To check the edition, open services.msc from run prompt and search for a service named "SQLSERVER". If it has MSSQLSERVER besides it, then its default instance. Else whatever name is mentioned is the Instance name.)

  2. If it is the default instance, then TcP-IP connections is enabled by default. Else if it an named instance then you will need to enable TCP-IP connections.

  3. Now from your laptop connect as: For default instance use just the machine name. For named instance(SQLEXPRESS) use MACHINENAME\INSTANCENAME to connect.

  4. You do not need mixed mode authentication to connect to SQL Server using Windows Credentials.

  • I have the Standard edition of SQL Server 2008 R2, I'm trying to connect to SQL server just by the machine name (Server name) and it says it cannot connect. Jul 3, 2011 at 19:19
  • Did you turn off the firewall on the Server machine?
    – Ganesh R.
    Jul 4, 2011 at 4:26
  • I did something similar, added a new rule to the firewall which solved the problemm :) Jul 4, 2011 at 11:59

In the connect dialog, you can use just the server name as the database engine. If it was a SQLExpress install, it would be something machinename\sqlexpress (or .\sqlexpress for a local install).

This should 'just work', at least it has for all my previous installations.

If you connection is failing, try enabling the SQL Server browser on the remote machine and enabling named pipes.

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