Error: Failed to connect to the specified server. Underlying DBMS error

Error Message

The following errors are returned when trying to make a Direct Connect connection to an ArcSDE geodatabase stored in SQL Server 2005. This error occurs from any ArcSDE client, such as ArcCatalog or ArcIMS Author. ArcCatalog displays the following error:

"Failed to connect to the specified server.
Underlying DBMS error[Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server: [DBNETLIB][ConnectionOpen(PreLoginHandshake()).]General network error. Check your network documentation.No extended error.]"

ArcIMS Author shows the following error message in the 'Author Message Console', accessible from the Help menu:


Application server connections to the same database work without any problem.


TCP/IP protocol might not be enabled on the system as a communication protocol between SQL Server Client and Server. To enable this protocol, use the 'SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration' utility to change the setting.

Application server connections to the database continue to function because clients connect to the ArcSDE application server, which then connects to the database. In this scenario, ArcSDE connections are local because the application server is on the same server as the database.

Solution or Workaround

  1. Open the SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration tool by navigating to Start > Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2005 > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Surface Area Configuration.
  2. Select 'Surface Area Configuration for Services and Connections'.
  3. Click 'Remote Connections' on the left.
  4. Select the 'Local and remote connections' option and accept the default option of 'Using TCP/IP only'.
    [O-Image] SQL Server Surface Area Configuration
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click OK on the message box that says 'Changes to Connection Settings will not take effect until you restart the Database Engine service'. Close the SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration utility.
  7. Restart the Database Engine service. This can be done using SQL Server Management Studio or the Windows Services Manager.
  8. Confirm that the Direct Connect connection to the ArcSDE geodatabase is successful.

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