Practice CS: There is a problem accessing the SQL server

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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.

While the error that is generated most often is "There is a problem accessing the SQL server", the particular error message can sometimes vary based upon the context in which the connectivity issue arises.

  • A transport-level error has occurred when sending the request to the server, (provider: Shared Memory Provider, error: 0 - Shared Memory Provider:)
  • An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 20xx, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 - Error Locating Server/Instance Specified)
  • "SQL Server has been paused. No new connections will be allowed. Login failed for user 'CreativeSolutionsPracticeCsDatabaseOwner'.
  • A transport-level error has occurred when receiving results from the server. (provider: TCP Provider, error: 0 - The specified network name is no longer available.)

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

  • Practice CS was able to connect to your database server, but could not find an available Practice CS database to connect to. You will not be able to access Practice CS until a Practice CS database is available.
    or
  • Only the remote database will be available to open.

    Note: This occurs instead of "There is a problem accessing the SQL Server" because when the program is unable to access the SQL Server on the network, it looks for, and finds, the SQL Server instance that was installed on the local workstation when Remote Entry was enabled instead.

We have provided suggested troubleshooting steps for resolving these errors below:

These errors represent that there is something environmental and not unique to the CS Professional Suite applications that is not allowing the program to connect to the MS SQL Server instance it uses. Due to this and the advanced systems steps provided that are unique to your network's environment, while Thomson Reuters support may be able to provide some general guidance, you should consult with your qualified IT professional familiar with SQL and your environment for assistance in resolving this issue. For more information, see SQL Server best practices for CS Professional Suite applications.

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 machine where the SQL Server instance resides, click the Start button or open a Search dialog. Choose or enter 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 machine where the SQL Server instance resides, go to the SQL Server Configuration Manager.
    • For Windows 7 and Server 2008: From the Start menu, go to All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 20xx > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Configuration Manager.
    • For Windows 8, 10 and Server 2012: Open up a Search dialog (which can be done from the Start menu, the Charms bar, or by using the Windows key + S keyboard shortcut) or a Run dialog and then enter the following depending on what version of SQL Server you are using:
      • SQL 2008: SQLServerManager10.msc
      • SQL 2012: SQLServerManager11.msc
      • SQL 2014: SQLServerManager12.msc
      • SQL 2016: SQLServerManager13.msc
      • SQL 2017: SQLServerManager14.msc
  2. Select SQL Server 20xx 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 machine where the SQL Server instance resides, go to the SQL Server Configuration Manager.
    • For Windows 7 and Server 2008: From the Start menu, go to All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 20xx > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Configuration Manager.
    • For Windows 8, 10 and Server 2012: Open up a Search dialog (which can be done from the Start menu, the Charms bar, or by using the Windows key + S keyboard shortcut) or a Run dialog and then enter the following depending on what version of SQL Server you are using:
      • SQL 2008: SQLServerManager10.msc
      • SQL 2012: SQLServerManager11.msc
      • SQL 2014: SQLServerManager12.msc
      • SQL 2016: SQLServerManager13.msc
      • SQL 2017: SQLServerManager14.msc
  2. On the left-hand pane, expand SQL Server 20xx 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. This can be done either in the SQL Server Services section of the Configuration manager, or in Services.msc under the name SQL Server (instancename)

The Practice CS Database Server machine is running a Firewall

If you are currently running a firewall (such as Windows Firewall) on the machine where the MS SQL instance resides, this can prevent workstations from properly connecting to it. Temporarily disabling the firewall can be done to test if this is the case, and if so, proper exceptions should be added for SQL specific ports and executables. For instructions on this process, see Windows Firewall Configuration for SQL Applications in CS Professional Suite.

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. If you have multiple WinCSI directories, you may need to confirm the directory you are using for this install is indeed the active location for Practice CS.

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 qualified IT professional to check for the following less common issues:

The SQL Server is not started or responding

  1. Try to start or restart 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, however, the SQL Server Agent service is not required.

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.

    Note: If you need the IPV4 IP address, enter ping MACHINENAME -4.

  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.

Note: If using the IP address instead of the machine name resolves this issue, this means your network's DNS is not functioning properly. As this represents an issue that can continue to affect the performance of many network based applications and services (including outside of the CS Professional Suite), using the IP address should only seen as temporary solution and this issue should be addressed promptly by your qualified IT professional.

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.

Verify the settings for the SQL instance in Microsoft SQL Management Studio

Note: Microsoft SQL Management Studio is Microsoft's application for managing and maintaining SQL instances. These steps require you to have the appropriate version of Management Studio for your SQL instance installed on the database's server as well as a working knowledge of this utility. Please contact your qualified IT professional if you need assistance.

Authentication Mode
  1. Once connected to the proper database instance in Microsoft SQL Management Studio, right-click on the instance name and choose Properties.
  2. Click on Security and make sure the box for SQL Server and Windows Authentication Mode is checked.
Database Owner
  1. Open Microsoft SQL Management Studio on the SQL server and connect to your SQL Server instance.
  2. Expand the Security folder then the Logins folder to see if the CreativeSolutionsPracticeCSDatabaseOwner is listed.
  3. If it is not listed, verify that your database instance is set to SQL Server and Windows Authentication Mode (see the steps above) and reinstall the program on the server. During Step #2 of the install, select your existing instance of SQL in order for this Login to get created.

Make sure Microsoft data compression and encryption is not enabled for SQL files

The SQL database is made up of two files, CSP_<FIRMID>_<FIRM>.mdf and CSP_<FIRMID>_<FIRM>_log.ldf, that by default are installed to the X:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server folder on the server (where X:\ represents your server's hard drive). These files cannot be compressed or encrypted. In Windows Explorer, compressed folders/files will appear in blue, and encrypted folders/files will appear in green. To turn off compression and/or encryption, right-click on the Program Files (or Program Files (x86) ) folder on the server and choose Properties. On the General tab, click the Advanced button and unmark the options for Compress contents to save disk space and/or Encrypt contents to secure data.

Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 is installed on the Workstation

We have found some circumstances in which Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 has prevented workstations from connecting to the SQL Server. Additionally, Symantec no longer supports version 11 as of January 2015. Uninstall or update Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 from the Workstation and retest.

Malware

In rare situations, SQL connectivity issues and other issues accessing and using pertinent files (such as SQL backups) may be due to malware located somewhere on your network environment. Ransomware (such as variations of the Cryptolock virus) have the potential to maliciously encrypt certain files which SQL and programs that depend on SQL utilize in order to properly and reliably communicate with each other. Other malicious software, such as viruses and trojans, can have a similar effect through different means that impacts SQL performance and overall network stability.

To protect your firm, keep your anti-malware software and firewall up to date, make sure all staff are following your firm's and IT's best practices for network security (including how emails/attachments from untrusted senders are handled), and immediately contact and work with your qualified IT professional if you believe any form of malware may be present on your network.

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.

A failure of the ODBC connection test would indicate that the Microsoft Windows workstation was unsuccessful at connecting to Microsoft SQL Server, and while this may only be manifesting itself with Practice CS, the issue is being caused by something environmental outside of the program. For further assistance in troubleshooting this issue on your firm's computers, you would need to contact a qualified IT professional who is proficient with SQL Server and your network. Once the ODBC connection test is successful, it is highly likely that our CS Professional Suite applications will also be able to make a connection and operate successfully on your system.

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