SQL SERVER – 2008 – Fix Connection Error with Visual Studio 2008 – Server Version is not supported

While attending conference SQLAuthority Author Visit – Microsoft Student Partner Conference, some developers informed me that SQL SERVER 2008 cannot be connected to Visual Studio 2008 and error displays as MS does not support SQL Server version. I was surprised initially as I could not believe that two MS products are not compatible. When trying myself I got the same error.

SQL Server 2008 when connected to Visual Studio 2008 gives the error that “This server version is not supported.  Only servers up to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 are supported“.

SQL SERVER - 2008 - Fix Connection Error with Visual Studio 2008 - Server Version is not supported SupportErr2008

This error can be easily resolved by just installing Service pack. Download Visual Studio Service Pack 1 and install. Once service pack installed it will connect just fine.

Reference : Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Database, Software Development, SQL Download, SQL Error Messages, SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Service Pack
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72 Comments. Leave new

  • Thanks for Link, But there is one problem. Its download the installer in seconds, but installing needs much time, as its downloading 4GM from live site, which is I believe not good. Any other link where I can get the exe?


  • Hello Imran,

    I have tried to look for other link where complete SP can or other patch can be downloaded but I found none.

    If any body know solution about this please post it here.

    Kind Regards,

    • My name is shilton,i came across this post when surfing for solution to the same problem you encountered.how were you able to resolve the problem?i have tried alot of ways including downloading visual studio service pack 1, but am yet to get a solution to the connection error (this server version is not supported,only server version up to microsoft SQL server 2005 are supported).i will really appreciate it if you can help me on how to resolve this error.

  • Vidya Vrat Agarwal
    September 26, 2008 2:17 am

    Hi Imran,

    Here is the URL for Visual Studio 2008Sp1 in iso format, so you don’t need to wait until it gets downloaded. Hope this will help you.


    Vidya Vrat Agarwal.

  • hi there!

    maybe i’ve found another issue:

    said that: debugging T-SQL SP without parameters works properly, then all the security issues etc. .. are OK.

    said that thanks in advance if you will answer ..

    said that this time I want to call into question whether some MVP is listening ..

    this is the problem and steps to reproduce the behavior:

    1. Visual Studio 2008 SP1 connected to a database that runs on SQL Server 2008 in a machine other than mine (level 8.0 compatibility, as it is plugged into a db in 2000)

    2. click on a sp with parameters (of any user defined types) and as usually select the “step into stored procedure”

    3. debugging of stored procedures does not start, and in the output appears :

    Running [dbo]. [RRintracciaDatiDaDocumentoPM31] … (@ UserName = admincapa, @ PWD = admincapa, @ IDDocumento = 262155, @ IDTestata = -1).

    Incorrect syntax near the keyword ‘SET’.
    Incorrect syntax near ‘,’.
    Incorrect syntax near ‘,’.
    Incorrect syntax near ‘,’.
    Incorrect syntax near ‘,’.
    Declare the scalar variable “@ param1”;.

    (0 rows returned)
    Running [dbo]. [RRintracciaDatiDaDocumentoPM31] complete.
    The thread ‘hydrogen idrogeno2008 [64]’ (0xbd8) ended with code 0 (0x0).
    The program ‘[2268] [SQL] hydrogen hydrogen idrogeno2008’ ended with code 0 (0x0).

    Note that I did not @ None Var1 in my stored.

    so, is it a bug in visual studio??

    have a nice day!

  • Hello sir…
    i hav installed VS2008 SP1 and SQL Server 2008 Express.
    earlier i made a project in VS2005 plus SQL 2005 and it was working fine…
    when i switched to these new versions and upgraded my project, and when i started debugging it gave me an Exception :
    A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 – Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

    i had banged my head alot on the internet and still unable to find the solution… please help me…


    Kinchit Arora

  • Hi,

    I had Visual studio 2008 and I faced this issue and thus installed the SP1. But now Visual studio isnt opening for me.


    Visual studio is installed on Win 7.


  • @Shruthi,

    The best way to work with tight integration of all Dev Tools in Win7, is the following install procedure

    1) OS and IIS (If using Reporting Services)
    2) Office 2007 SP2 /2010 Tech Preview
    3) SQL Server 2008(x32,x64or IA64) + SP1
    While installing SQL Server 2008, choose everything
    4) Now install VS 2008 + Sp1

    You are good to go!

    Good Luck!


  • @Kinchit,

    [Sanity Checks]

    1) Did you restart your machine after the upgrades?

    2) Did you check if the services have started in Services.msc?

    [Coding Checks]

    3) Check to see, if you can connect with your VS 2005 project to SQL Express 2008?

    4) Check if you can first connect through management studio?

    5) Finally check if you are able to establish a connection, using your App.config file, check the connection strings etc

    Hope this helps


  • Anil or Pinal,

    NEW WINDOWS 7 64bit (x86 <- for 32 bit apps) .NET Visual Studio setup
    to run an originally created XP Pro 32bit .NET Visual Studio setup.

    XP Pro setup, when everything worked* ok
    – Windows XP Pro
    – Visual Studio 2008 Academic Pro upgraded to the latest
    – Ajax
    (Note: although Ajax was installed, nothing in the project
    uses it yet.)
    – SQL Server Express 2005
    – MSDE (Vale Software product to manage SQL)
    I never used the Server Explorer in Visual Studio

    (*Everything worked great until the debugger started to abort sessions after a minute or so…it worked for years and suddenly started to fail. I remember getting around that but I cannot remember what the fix was, Lately, I tried everything from a new project with minimal vanilla setups to no avail,I could never resolve that problem…)

    I decided to upgrade to WIN 7 when a hardware crash caused me to buy new equipment.

    ***** means issues left to resolve
    – Dual core 64bit box
    – WINDOWS 7 Pro (x86 <- for 32 bit apps)
    – Obviously on Pro the IIS 7 is installed, except nothing needed
    for Visual Studio is turned ON.
    I followed the blogs to turn on the appropriate entries

    ***** I need a clear list of what shoud be TURNED ON
    I have simple list for WIN XP Pro… that was easy.
    Now everything is renamed, my list is subject to translation.
    …and it seems that one must go in 2 places now:
    – the Services?
    – and the Turn windows features on/off?

    I installed in various order*:
    – Office 2003 works great so far
    – Visual Studio 2008 Pro Trial
    (Noticed that Visual Studio install, installs The 3.5 Framework
    and SQL Server 2005) <-not sure if Express or not
    – SQL Server Express 2008

    *I say in various order because, as I run into problems and follwo advice on the net… I may have installed Service Packs after the fact, etc…)

    Problems I ran into:

    – debugger still times out !!!!!!!!!
    ***** I suspect due to the order things were installed?

    – .js files would not come up in Visual Studio(intellisense
    problem I believed)
    after reinstallation I was able to work with .js files

    – The SQL Server Explorer sees my 2005.mdb
    I am able to change file structures, create tables,query
    and change the data

    – ***** My .NET app does not see the database

    – My MSDE(Vale Software) SQL Managment tool does not
    install on WIN 7

    In trying to get those items to work I followed the advice on the blogs to use the software that removes the Frameworks, that failed, so I ended up REINSTALLING WIN7 from the OEM CD.

    I am now at this point:
    – I have installed Office 2003 – I cannot afford Office 2007
    In the sequence of installing the software you mention Office 2007…
    **** 1. Will Office 2003 work?
    **** 2. Why is Office even mentioned, in this context?

    I want to install:
    – SQL Server Express 2008
    – *****Hopefuly I can use this tool to manage the database
    – *****and I can connect to the HOST as well to do remote
    admin and not need the MSDE product mentioned above.
    (Note: on my first attempt, I did not see options to setup
    a user in the database in SQL Explorer)

    – Visual Studio 2008 Pro Trial with Ajax

    ***** I need to know what to install next in what sequence and what service pack?
    ***** …and for instance, what modules can be installed directly by using the LATEST service pack install without having to install all the previous versions?

    I will create a restore point at each install, to avoid having to reinstall WINDOWS.

    The connection string I used on my XP Pro setup:

    Note, Path: (F:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL$DOM2\Data\My2005dtabase.mdf)

    I do not know why I had to use sa versus Server Authentication?

    The connection string I am trying on WIN 7 setup

    ON WIN 7 setup, I was never able to get my .NET App to see the database no matter how many connection strings I tried.

  • Connections strings were stripped, I hope due to the brackets and slashes-backslashes, replaced here with @@@ – @

    Connection String on XP Pro Setup
    @@@ add key=”ThisConnectionString” value=”SERVER=GATEWAY@DOM2;DATABASE=My2005database;Password=xxxxxxxx;User ID=sa”@ @@@

    Connection String on WIN 7 Setup
    @@@add name=”MyProject.My.MySettings.ConnString” connectionString=”Data Source=.@SQLEXPRESS;AttachDbFilename="C:@Program Files@Microsoft SQL Server@MSSQL10.SQLEXPRESS@MSSQL@DATA@My2005database.mdf";Integrated Security=True;Connect Timeout=30;User Instance=True;Password=xxxxxxxx;User ID=sa;” providerName=”System.Data.SqlClient”@@@@

    @@@ objError.Message “An attempt to attach an auto-named database for file C:@Program Files@Microsoft SQL Server@MSSQL10.SQLEXPRESS@MSSQL@DATA@My2005database.mdf failed. A database with the same name exists, or specified file cannot be opened, or it is located on UNC share.” String @@@

  • .
    I found a tool on the microsoft site called WEB PI.
    I am now using it to install everything.

    It wants to install
    – the tool itself(WEB PI)
    – IIS extensions?
    – the Framework series
    – SQL Server 2008 Express
    It recommends mixed authentication, thus what I elect.

    I cannot sit here idle, thus I have it running now.
    I hope it does not clobber the IIS 7.5 and the 3.5 Framework that are already on WINDOWS 7 Pro ?

    Will the Visual Studio 2008 Trial SP1 also reinstall the Framework?

    Keeping my fingers crossed that I may yet spend an entire day on a failed install.

  • well… disaster…
    after reinstalling everything, now i cannot create a database in SQL Server Explorer in Visual Studio.

    and if I try to point it to My2005.mdf same problem a massive error mesage:

    now, remember I was able to look at My2005database.mdf on the previous instal.

    The only thing I can asume causes this new problem is that I did a custom install of VS2008 and checked off the install of SQLServer 2005… since I installed SQL Server 2008!!!

    I am going to try to overlay 2005 now by doing a repair in VS install… but I think I will waste me time yet, again.

    Going to this new system for me is a disaster. I was fine in the Previous XP setup, i could copy any database in the SQL$.xxxx folder and I was good to go…

  • ALL THESE ERRORS cannot be cut & pate, one must painfully retype them

    Here is the first error I got:

    A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider,
    error: 40 – Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

  • sir i had installed visual studio 2008 and when i am creating an database it is giving me an error that connection microsoft sql server express edition.I dont know what to do.Please i need ur help.

  • Hey,
    I saw your articals(Which I love) and had the same problem but I install the SP and it’s didn’t help… what can I do?
    Thank you,
    btw – It’s the first time that I install SQL Server (2008) and visual studio (2010) on this computer…

  • thanks mayyng for the post!

  • Thanks! it was very helpful.

  • hi sir, I first installed visual studio then i installed IIS server . when i created new web site it’s showing like this
    “Configaration website “http:…..” failed.you must manually configure…..” so in executed “%windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis -i” this commed cmd prompt.

    but when debuging asp.net application i am not getting output on web browser it showing “server error ”
    pls help me sir ..

  • HI SIR,


  • windows 7 64 bit

    Adventureworks_data.mdf is located in
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data

    not which is reserved for 64 bit applications
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server


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