Connecting with Management Studio
It is easy to connect to the Database Engine from tools that are running on the same computer if you know the name of the instance, and if you are connecting as a member of the Administrators group on the computer. The following procedures must be performed on the same computer that hosts SQL Server.
To determine the name of the instance of the Database Engine
Log into Windows as a member of the Administrators group, and open either Management Studio or Management Studio Express.
In the Connect to Server dialog box, click Cancel.
If Registered Servers is not displayed, on the View menu, click Registered Servers.
With Database Engine selected on the Registered Servers toolbar, expand Database Engine, right-click Local Server Groups, point to Tasks, and then click Register Local Servers. All instances of the Database Engine installed on the computer are displayed. This includes instances of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005. The default instance is unnamed and is shown as the computer name. A named instance displays as the computer name followed by a backward slash (\) and then the name of the instance. For SQL Server 2008 Express, the instance is named <computer_name>\sqlexpress unless the name was changed during setup.
To verify that the Database Engine is running
In Registered Servers, if the name of your instance of SQL Server has a green dot with a white arrow next to the name, the Database Engine is running and no further action is necessary.
If the name of your instance of SQL Server has a red dot with a white square next to the name, the Database Engine is stopped. Right-click the name of the Database Engine, and then click Start. After a confirmation dialog box, the Database Engine should start and the circle should turn green.
To connect to the Database Engine
On the File menu, click Connect Object Explorer.
The Connect to Server dialog box opens. The Server type box displays the type that was last used.
Select Database Engine.
In the Server name box, type the name of the instance of the Database Engine.