Troubleshooting the SQL Server Management Studio

Written by
Aditya Anand
Published on
June 24, 2022

You have installed your SQL server, then installed SSMS. However, when you try to launch SSMS and are presented with the connection screen, it can’t seem to connect whatever you try.

You are receiving an error message something like this:

Login failed for user example SSMS

This guide will lead you through the steps to eliminating this error. 

First we must understand why this error is happening. Your SQL server - just like many other applications  - has a username to authenticate the users who have permission to access it. You are receiving this error message because the username that SSMS is providing is invalid. In this case, my username is “Aditya Work”. Let’s look at the “Installation Completed!” page for your SQL server: 

Look at the “SQL Administrators” section of this page. Notice how the username here is “fogch”. As can be seen here, the usernames between SSMS and the server don’t line up. However, in SSMS, you will not be able to change the username. 

This issue occurs when you give administrator access to the SQL server while installing. Instead of using your account’s credentials, it will use your administrator account’s credentials. To fix this issue, you simply need to run SSMS with the same administrator credentials that you gave to the server. To do this, run SSMS as an administrator, and use the same administrator account that you used for the server itself. Once it launches, you should see that the username now matches the SQL administrators section on your server. 

Notice how the username on this page now matches the “Server Administrators” section from the previous image. Also note how the “Server Name” section on this page matches the “Instance Name” section on the previous page. 

Select “Connect” and you will successfully boot into the SQL Server Management Studio. You provided the same account credentials to SSMS as you did to the server, which allowed the connection to proceed. 

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