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“Unable to Connect to Database” When Logging In To Ajera

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Description of the Problem

You are trying to log into Ajera. When you launch the program, the Ajera login screen appears. In the upper left corner of the login screen, you see the word "label1" instead of your company name. When you enter your username and password and log in, you are shown the following pop-up box:

Unable to Connect

Unable to connect to database:

A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 - Error Locating Server/Instance Specified)

After this, you may see an Ajera program window the the usual toolbar commands such as File, Company, Setup, Manage, etc., but any option you choose produces an error.

This condition may be affecting one, several, or all workstations on your network.


The above error happens when the Ajera server name isn't resolvable via DNS. Your PC uses uses NetBIOS name resolution to locate the Ajera client, but once the Ajera client is executing on your PC, it uses DNS to locate the Ajera data base.

You can confirm whether your Ajera login problem is DNS-related by attempting to ping the Ajera server from a workstation that is experiencing the problem. Open a command window, then type ping ajeraserver. For example, if your Ajera server is named Apollo, type ping apollo. If you receive replies, your Ajera login problem is caused by something else. If, however, you receive the error, Ping request could not find host ajeraserver, then you have a DNS problem.

If you don't know the name of your Ajera server, you can examine the properties of the Ajera shortcut on your desktop to find it. The Ajera server name immediately follows the double backslash in the "Target" field of the shortcut. For example, if the target is \\Apollo\Ajera\Ajera.exe, then the server name is Apollo. If you launch Areja from the Start menu rather than a desktop shortcut, simply hover the mouse pointer over the Start menu shortcut to see the target.

Once you have confirmed that the Ajera error is DNS-related, your next step is to determine the scope of the problem on your network. If it is happening on only one workstation, check that workstation's TCP/IP properties and confirm that the DNS servers are correct for your network. If the error is happening on every station on your network, you need to fix the DNS settings on your router or DHCP server. If some stations are working correctly while others aren't, an unknown router or DHCP server may be present on your network. You must find the problem device and shut it down or disconnect it.


If you have confirmed that your Ajera login problem is DNS-related, but you aren't able to correct the underlying issue immediately, you may be able to use a workaround to log into Ajera even with DNS not working. The workaround is to place the name of your Ajera server in your workstation's HOSTS file. The HOSTS file is a list of computers and IP addresses that is stored on your computer. It is a very basic, crude name resolution method that overrides DNS.

To use this workaround, you must know not only the name of your Ajera server, but also its IP address. If DNS isn't working correctly, there is no way you can discover the IP address automatically (if there were, you wouldn't be having this problem in the first place!). You must obtain the IP address by looking it up on the Ajera server, by running the above ping test on a workstation where Ajera is working correctly, or by asking someone such as a network administrator.

On modern Windows systems (NT and later, up to and including Windows 7 64-bit), the HOSTS file resides in the %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc folder . Because this file overrides all DNS settings on your computer, it is usually well-secured and not editable by ordinary users. In fact, you should not attempt to edit the HOSTS file unless you have at least moderate experience in performing system administration tasks. You should also back up the HOSTS file before editing it.

On most Windows systems, you will need administrative permissions to edit the HOSTS file. Even with administrative permissions, you may have to edit the security settings of the %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc folder or the attributes of the HOSTS file before you can edit the file itself.

After you obtain permission to the HOSTS file, add a line containing your Ajera server name and IP address anywhere in the file (top, middle, bottom, doesn't matter). For example, if your Ajera server is Apollo, and it IP address is, you would type:


When saving the HOSTS file, be sure it is simply called HOSTS, not HOSTS.txt.

Once the HOSTS file has been edited and saved, you should immediately be able to ping the Ajera server (e.g. ping apollo) and receive replies. After that, you ought to be able to once again log into Ajera and use the program without any errors. Note that although this may fix your Ajera problem, the underlying DNS problem still needs to be addressed in order for your network to work properly. Once the DNS problem has been resolved, you ought to remove the line you added to your HOSTS file or restore your HOSTS file from a backup, otherwise, you could lose Ajera connectivity in the future when changes are made to your network layout.

David Carson
Posted on February 4, 2011
© Copyright Kinetic Computer Services

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