We recommend using Visual Studio 2017
This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

How to: Access and Initialize Server Explorer/Database Explorer

Use Server Explorer/Database Explorer to create and manipulate database connections, and to connect to servers and explore their contents.

To access Server Explorer

  • On the View menu, choose Server Explorer or Database Explorer.

    - or -

  • If the Server Explorer or Database Explorer tab is displayed on the left edge of the screen, select that tab.

By default, Server Explorer/Database Explorer displays data connections and links to servers that you have previously used. For more information, see Accessing Server Resources with Server Explorer.


The Servers node is not available in the Standard Edition of Visual Basic and Visual C#. The Servers node is also not available in Visual Basic Express and Visual C# Express.

You can drag items from Server Explorer/Database Explorer onto Visual Studio designers. This creates new resources that are preconfigured to retrieve information from the selected resource. For more information, see How to: Add Items from Server Explorer.

When you first access Server Explorer/Database Explorer, the window appears on the left edge of the development environment. Clicking the tack icon retracts the window into a tab on the left margin. Select the tab to expand the window. After you select the tab to view the window, it automatically retracts again as you select items on the design surface. If you hide the window, then the tab no longer appears, but you can reopen Server Explorer/Database Explorer from the Project menu. For more information, see Arranging and Using Windows in Visual Studio and Kinds of Windows.