If you are a developer experiencing "Connect to Server" errors using SQL Server Management Studio on your local machine or development box, consult the checklist below to quickly find, and fix, many common problems found to be associated with this issue.
1. SQL Server Installation Center
Make sure SQL Server is properly configured using the SQL Server 2014 Installation Center app, found under Programs, Microsoft SQL Server 2014, Configuration Tools menu. Then, click on the Tools menu to run System Configuration Checker and Installed SQL Server features discovery report.
Both utilities generate detailed reports about the current condition of SQL Server and its configuration:
If you discover your SQL Server is corrupted based on reading the information contained in either of these reports, try fixing the server using Installation Center's Repair utility.
If there are no problems found with SQL Server's install or configuration, ensure that SQL Server, SQL Server Agent, and other appropriate services are running. To do this, run the Services app, located under Control Panel's Administrative Tools menu. If the service isn't running, right-click to start it.
3. Service logins and connections
If all of the appropriate services are running, then most likely your issues lie with service login accounts or Management Studio's connection settings. Right-click a service, view Properties, and click the Log On tab to select an account user. Many developers set user to the NETWORK SERVICE account. This account, and others, can be viewed and/or selected if you click Browse, Advanced, and finally Find Now. The dialog result pane will then show all of the user accounts found on your system.
When you are finished checking Log On accounts, open SQL Server Management Studio, and click the Connect to Server window's Advanced button. Ensure that Authentication settings match the service account settings specified earlier.
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Finally, if all else fails, you will probably need to modify Connection Properties or Connection Parameters. Consult this Microsoft TechNet page for more information on how to troubleshoot these connection properties.
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