Error Connecting to Database Server

I recently setup yet another SharePoint farm (this time using virtual machines) and ran into a problem that happens all too often.

The scenario is this: I setup MS SQL server in preparation for getting SharePoint installed on a separate server. After setting up your service accounts in Active Directory and installing MS SQL on Server1, I set off installing SharePoint on Server2. When I got to the screen in the Specify Configuration Database Settings within the SharePoint configuration wizard, I received the following error:

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Cannot connect to database master at SQL server at ServerName. The database might not exist, or the current user does not have permission to connect to it.

Knowing the database ‘master’ did exist, I setout to solve the “current user does not have permission” issue. I opened the SQL Management Studio and checked to make sure my account had permission to connect.

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I checked the permissions for the service account and everything looked good. So, what’s going on?!?

Since I don’t follow a setup script anymore (I have done this hundreds of times, so I know what I am doing, right?), I had forgotten one step. MS SQL listens for incoming traffic on port 1433. When setting up your SQL server, you have to make sure you create a firewall rule to allow that incoming port. This is elementary and I should have remembered this step, but no one is perfect, right?

So, I opened Windows Firewall (if you are using a different firewall product, the steps should be similar).

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I selected Inbound Rules in the left window and then chose New Rule… from the Actions menu on the right.

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Select Port for the type of rule you want to create, click Next, and then type in 1433 in the port field.
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Click Next and then select to Allow the connection. Go through the rest of the wizard by clicking Next and filling in the appropriate content.

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Again, this is not rocket science, but I hope this information can be helpful to the next person who forgets the important step of allowing inbound connections to their SQL server!

Recover Password From The IIS Metabase

I recently needed to add an account to an IIS6 Application Pool, but I did not know the password. No one else knew the password either.

However, I found out that the account was being used by an IIS6 application pool on another Windows Server 2003 machine. So I loaded the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit Tools, which includes the lovely tool “Metabase Explorer”.

After I launched the Metabase Explorer application, I navigated my way to the application pool that was using the password I needed to obtain. Select the option to “View Secure Data” and bingo! there is the password.

Download the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit HERE