Practice CS: There is a Problem Accessing the SQL Server

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IT number: 265237

When Practice CS cannot communicate with the database server (Microsoft SQL Server) due to environmental, network connectivity, or configuration issues, the program will not function.

The particular message that accompanies this text varies based upon the context in which the connectivity issue arises. Examples of some of these messages are:

If you have Remote Entry enabled, you may get the following instead of "There is a problem accessing the SQL Server":

These errors indicate that the Practice CS program on the workstation is not able to connect to the SQL Server.

Common Fixes on a New Installation

If this is a new installation of Practice CS, and the program is failing at multiple workstations, then usually the problem is a result of settings on the SQL server. Additionally, if you have installed the Practice CS program on the SQL server (during Step #3 of the installation), you will usually find that Practice CS works properly when accessed from the server itself. In this instance, the errors can usually be resolved by checking for and updating the following:

(Note that you may need the assistance of your IT consultant or network technician to complete the below steps)

The SQL Server Browser Service is not running

  1. At the SQL Server, click the Start button. Choose Run and type Services.msc and click OK.
  2. In the list of services, find SQL Server Browser.
  3. Double-click that item and make sure the Startup type is "Automatic" and that the Service Status is "Started".
  4. If the SQL Browser is not started, then click the Start button to start the service and click OK.

TCP/IP Connections are not enabled for SQL Server

  1. At the SQL Server, go to Start / All Programs / Microsoft SQL Server 200x / Configuration Tools / SQL Server Configuration Manager.
  2. Select SQL Server 200x Network Configuration / Protocols for <InstanceName>.
  3. Verify that TCP/IP is "Enabled".
  4. If the status is "Disabled", right click and select Enable.

Named Pipes are not enabled for SQL Server

  1. At the SQL Server, go to Start / All Programs / Microsoft SQL Server 200x / Configuration Tools / SQL Server Configuration Manager.
  2. On the left-hand pane, expand SQL Server 200x Network Configuration and then click Protocols for <instancename>.
  3. In the right-hand pane, verify that Named Pipes is "Enabled". If it is not, right-click on Named Pipes and choose Enable.
  4. On the left-hand pane, expand SQL Native Client Configuration and then click Client Protocols.
  5. In the right-hand pane, verify that Named Pipes is "Enabled". If it is not, right-click on Named Pipes and choose Enable.

Note: After enabling TCP/IP and Named Pipes, stop and restart the SQL Instance and the SQL Browser.

The Practice CS Database Server machine is running Windows Firewall

Create an exception in the Windows Firewall of your server. 

Eliminating Practice CS Related Causes

The above steps fix most occurrences of this problem. If, after doing the above, the problem is still occurring, the next step in determining the cause of the connection issue is to determine if it is caused by a configuration issue within Practice CS. Do any of the following, as necessary / appropriate:

Error occurs at one or a few workstations but works at others

Uninstall Practice CS and reinstall using the Practice CS desktop setup process on each of the affected workstations.

Note: It is strongly recommended that any antivirus program be completely disabled before reinstalling the Practice CS desktop.

Error occurs at all workstations (including fails at server)

Check that the MACHINENAME\INSTANCENAME in the Datasource.xml file exists and is correct. The Datasource.xml file can be found in X:\WinCSI\Practice CS Data, where "X" is your network drive letter. These values should properly identify the SQL server by name, and the SQL instance that Practice CS uses. Correct the MACHINENAME or INSTANCENAME if necessary.

Troubleshooting Other Causes

If the above steps have all been tested and eliminated as causes of the issue, you may want your IT technician to check for the following less common issues:

The SQL Server is not responding

  1. Try to stop and start the instance of SQL Server used by Practice CS: On the SQL Server, go to Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Services.
  2. If you receive an error attempting this, the server will need to be rebooted.

Note: Also check for additional SQL Services to ensure they are also started.

The workstation is running Windows 7 and the Windows Firewall is turned on

Under certain circumstances with Windows 7 workstations, you may need to create an Outbound Rule that allows the Practice CS program to connect to the SQL server. If outbound connections are restricted at a workstation, the program may not be able to connect to the SQL server. For details about creating an exception in the Windows Firewall on affected Windows 7 workstations, see Cannot connect to a SQL server on a Windows 7 workstation.

Domain Name System (DNS) services in the network environment are unreliable

Replace the MACHINENAME in the Datasource.xml file with the IP address of the SQL Server. Datasource.xml is located in the X:\WinCSI\Practice CS Data folder, where "X" is your network drive letter.

You can determine the server's IP address by doing the following:

  1. In Start/Run enter "cmd" and click OK.
  2. Enter the command: ping MACHINENAME.
  3. The response should include the following text:

    "Pinging MACHINENAME [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx] with 32 bytes of data:"

  4. xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx represents the valid IP address for MACHINENAME.

If a DNS problem is found it should be corrected by a qualified technician. Referencing the server via IP should not be looked at as a permanent solution.

Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security was installed on database server machine after installing Practice CS

  1. In Add/Remove programs, uninstall the Practice CS Shared Files (and also Practice CS if the program was also loaded on the server in Step #3 of the installation process).
  2. Restart the Practice CS installation process while sitting at the SQL server.
  3. In Step #2, choose the option to Install a new instance of Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition and choose a new instance name when prompted.
  4. After completing the above, you will need to uninstall and reinstall the desktop setup on all workstations.
  5. Restore the Practice CS database to the new SQL instance using a backup previously created within Practice CS or via a program such as Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

Note: Do not uninstall Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security.

A third-party application or service is interfering with SQL Server database connectivity

  1. Reboot the workstation and boot in Safe Mode with Networking.
  2. Retest for problem.
  3. If Practice CS now works, disable all non-Microsoft services and startup items using MSCONFIG.EXE.
  4. Enable small numbers of items and retest until the specific item that is causing the interference is identified.
  5. Disable or uninstall the interfering application, service, or startup item.

Still receiving error?

The above represent the known issues that will cause and fix these errors. If, after troubleshooting and resolving the above, you are still receiving errors when connecting to the SQL Server, then you should test SQL connectivity outside the software. The following steps will use tools built into Windows (and completely independent of Practice CS) to attempt to establish a connection between a computer and your SQL Server:

Create an ODBC connection

  1. Go to the Microsoft Windows Control Panel
  2. Choose Administrative Tools, then Data Sources (ODBC)
  3. Click Add.
  4. Choose SQL Server and click Finish.
  5. Enter a Name and Description (anything will do), then enter the Server\Instance name of the SQL instance used by Practice CS (e.g: ServerName\CREATIVESOLUTION).
  6. Click Next until you can click Finish on the setup wizard.
  7. You should get a pop-up window showing the ODBC MS SQL Server Setup screen.
  8. Click the Test Data Source button.
  9. You should see a successful connection to the SQL server, and it should indicate that the "test completed successfully".
  10. Once you have the results, you can close all of the open windows and exit the Administrative Tools.

If the ODBC connection fails, then it indicates that this workstation was unsuccessful at connecting to your Microsoft SQL Server outside of Practice CS. You will need to contact an IT technician experienced with Microsoft SQL issues for further assistance in troubleshooting this issue on your firm's computers. Again, this is a communication issue with the Microsoft Windows workstation communicating with the Microsoft SQL Server. Once the ODBC connection passes, it is highly likely that our product will also be able to make a connection and operate successfully.

Note: Microsoft also provides the following SQL Server connectivity troubleshooting in the following topics:

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