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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is a Data Philosopher at Andy Leonard Consulting, an SSIS Trainer, Consultant, and developer; a Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) developer and BimlHero; SQL Server database and data warehouse developer, community mentor, engineer, and farmer. He is a co-author of SQL Server Integration Services Design Patterns, and author of Managing Geeks - A Journey of Leading by Doing, and the Stairway to Integration Services.

Quick Database Connectivity Testing


Ever find yourself needing to test connectivity, but you’re on a machine with no client tools? It happens to me occasionally. Here’s one trick to help:

UDL files

Right-click on the Windows Desktop, hover over New, and click Text Document:

Rename the file to test.udl:

Because you are changing the extension, you will be prompted:

Click Yes. Double-click the test.udl file to open the Data Link Properties window. Enter (or select) the server name, select integrated security or SQL Login and provide credentials, then select or enter a database name:

Click the Test Connection button to test connectivity:


There you have it – a way to test connectivity without database client tools installed!


Published Friday, August 26, 2011 1:00 PM by andyleonard

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Chuck Rummel said:

Another way I've used before on web servers is to set up a new ODBC connection.  You can use the Test Connection button and then delete the connection you just created.

August 27, 2011 11:12 PM

Christian Nitz said:

There are these other possibilities for the outcome of the test step:

1: Microsoft Data Link Error

"Test connection failed because of an error in initializing provider.[DBNETLIB][ConnectionOpen(Connect()).]SQL Server does not exist or access denied."

In my experience this is never actually access denied, and is always a connectivity problem. (firewall, port, ip, etc.)

2: Microsoft Data Link Error

"Test connection failed because of an error in ititializing provider. Login failed for user '<username>'."

In contrast to the other error message, this one does indicate access was denied while the connection itself was successful.

August 29, 2011 2:31 PM

Robert L Davis said:

Very handy! I have a VBS script that I use for this, but this is much simpler!

September 12, 2011 11:18 AM

kaka said:

Thanks a lot, you have helped me.

June 21, 2012 7:10 AM

Jane said:

Fantastic. Thank you.

September 14, 2012 6:28 AM

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