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Server Explorer/Database Explorer

Server Explorer/Database Explorer is the server management console for Visual Studio. Use this window to open data connections and to log on to servers and explore their databases and system services. In the Visual Studio Express products, this window is named Database Explorer. In all other Visual Studio products, this window is named Server Explorer.


In Visual Studio 2012, you can connect to a SQL Server database from either SQL Server Object Explorer or the Data Connections node in Server Explorer. SQL Server Object Explorer provides a view that is like SQL Server Management Studio. To open this explorer from the menu bar, choose View, SQL Server Object Explorer. For more information, see Connected Database Development.

To access Server Explorer/Database Explorer, choose Server Explorer or Database Explorer on the View menu. To make the window close automatically when not in use, select Auto Hide on the Window menu.

There are two primary nodes in the window.

Data Connections

Top-level node that lists any data connections added by a user to the server. Beneath this node are listed the diagrams, tables, views, stored procedures, and functions for each connection. You can make data connections to many types of databases, including Oracle databases running on UNIX or Microsoft Windows operating systems.

For information about how to connect to a database from the Data Connections node, see How to: Connect to a Database from Server Explorer, How to: Connect to a File-based Database, and Add/Modify Connection Dialog Box (General). For information about how to create, edit, and browse objects in SQL Server databases, see Connected Database Development.


Top-level node that lists the servers currently available for use. Beneath each server node are listed the server resources you can use in your applications. You can drag nodes from the Servers node onto Visual Studio designers. This action creates new components that are preconfigured to reference the dragged item.

For information about how to connect to a server, see How to: Add New Servers in Server Explorer and Add Server Dialog Box.

Note Note

The Servers node and its children are not available in some editions of Visual Studio.