"The system cannot find the file specified"


I saw many questions on SO with this error. But none were related to forms. I just hosted my application server after testing locally. I think it worked for a few mins but I'm not sure as I may have looked at the localhost tab for a moment. Then it stopped working. I may have changed something as I was making changes on server too.

I checked my connection string and also tried logging into the DB using other ways and it is online. So, any clues what could be wrong. I don't think it is possible that sql server is only not responding to requests from an app and is available if you log in through SSMS.

Below is the error I get.

Server Error in '/' Application.

The system cannot find the file specified

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The system cannot find the file specified

Source Error:

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Stack Trace:

[Win32Exception (0x80004005): The system cannot find the file specified]

[SqlException (0x80131904): 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: 52 - Unable to locate a Local Database Runtime installation. Verify that SQL Server Express is properly installed and that the Local Database Runtime feature is enabled.)]
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection, Action1 wrapCloseInAction) +5296071 System.Data.SqlClient.TdsParser.ThrowExceptionAndWarning(TdsParserStateObject stateObj, Boolean callerHasConnectionLock, Boolean asyncClose) +558
System.Data.SqlClient.TdsParser.Connect(ServerInfo serverInfo, SqlInternalConnectionTds connHandler, Boolean ignoreSniOpenTimeout, Int64 timerExpire, Boolean encrypt, Boolean trustServerCert, Boolean integratedSecurity, Boolean withFailover) +5308555
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds.AttemptOneLogin(ServerInfo serverInfo, String newPassword, SecureString newSecurePassword, Boolean ignoreSniOpenTimeout, TimeoutTimer timeout, Boolean withFailover) +145
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds.LoginNoFailover(ServerInfo serverInfo, String newPassword, SecureString newSecurePassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, SqlCredential credential, TimeoutTimer timeout) +920
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds.OpenLoginEnlist(TimeoutTimer timeout, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, SqlCredential credential, String newPassword, SecureString newSecurePassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance) +307
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds..ctor(DbConnectionPoolIdentity identity, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, SqlCredential credential, Object providerInfo, String newPassword, SecureString newSecurePassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance, SqlConnectionString userConnectionOptions) +434
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnectionFactory.CreateConnection(DbConnectionOptions options, DbConnectionPoolKey poolKey, Object poolGroupProviderInfo, DbConnectionPool pool, DbConnection owningConnection, DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +225
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionFactory.CreatePooledConnection(DbConnectionPool pool, DbConnectionOptions options, DbConnectionPoolKey poolKey, DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +37
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.CreateObject(DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +558
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.UserCreateRequest(DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +67
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.TryGetConnection(DbConnection owningObject, UInt32 waitForMultipleObjectsTimeout, Boolean allowCreate, Boolean onlyOneCheckConnection, DbConnectionOptions userOptions, DbConnectionInternal& connection) +1052
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.TryGetConnection(DbConnection owningObject, TaskCompletionSource
1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions, DbConnectionInternal& connection) +78
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionFactory.TryGetConnection(DbConnection owningConnection, TaskCompletionSource1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions, DbConnectionInternal& connection) +167
System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionClosed.TryOpenConnection(DbConnection outerConnection, DbConnectionFactory connectionFactory, TaskCompletionSource
1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +143
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.TryOpen(TaskCompletionSource1 retry) +83 System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.Open() +96
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlProviderServices.UsingConnection(SqlConnection sqlConnection, Action
1 act) +79
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlProviderServices.UsingMasterConnection(SqlConnection sqlConnection, Action`1 act) +384
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlProviderServices.GetDbProviderManifestToken(DbConnection connection) +241
System.Data.Common.DbProviderServices.GetProviderManifestToken(DbConnection connection) +26

[ProviderIncompatibleException: The provider did not return a ProviderManifestToken string.]
System.Data.Common.DbProviderServices.GetProviderManifestToken(DbConnection connection) +170
System.Web.Providers.ModelHelper.GetStorageMetadata(String providerName, DbConnection connection, String ssdl) +35
System.Web.Providers.ModelHelper.CreateMetadataWorkspace(String providerName, DbConnection connection, String csdl, String ssdl, String msl) +154
System.Web.Providers.ModelHelper.CreateEntityConnection(ConnectionStringSettings setting, String csdl, String ssdl, String msl) +109
System.Web.Providers.ModelHelper.CreateMembershipEntities(ConnectionStringSettings setting) +28
System.Web.Providers.DefaultMembershipProvider.GetPasswordWithFormat(String userName, Boolean updateLastLoginActivityDate, Int32& status, String& password, Int32& format, String& salt, Int32& failedPasswordAttemptCount, Int32& failedPasswordAnswerAttemptCount, Boolean& isApproved, DateTime& lastLoginDate, DateTime& lastActivityDate) +118
System.Web.Providers.DefaultMembershipProvider.CheckPassword(String userName, String password, Boolean updateLastActivityDate, Boolean failIfNotApproved, String& salt, Int32& passwordFormat) +81
System.Web.Providers.DefaultMembershipProvider.ValidateUser(String username, String password) +105
System.Web.Security.Membership.ValidateUser(String username, String password) +26 Staff.Web.Account.Login.OnAuthenticate(Object sender, AuthenticateEventArgs e) in c:\Assembla\SVN\servicesdue\Staff.Web\Staff.Web\Account\Login.aspx.cs:28 System.Web.UI.WebControls.Login.OnAuthenticate(AuthenticateEventArgs e) +9449786 System.Web.UI.WebControls.Login.AttemptLogin() +119
System.Web.UI.WebControls.Login.OnBubbleEvent(Object source, EventArgs e) +75 System.Web.UI.Control.RaiseBubbleEvent(Object source, EventArgs args) +37
System.Web.UI.WebControls.Button.OnCommand(CommandEventArgs e) +114
System.Web.UI.WebControls.Button.RaisePostBackEvent(String eventArgument) +159
System.Web.UI.WebControls.Button.System.Web.UI.IPostBackEventHandler.RaisePostBackEvent(String eventArgument) +10
System.Web.UI.Page.RaisePostBackEvent(IPostBackEventHandler sourceControl, String eventArgument) +13
System.Web.UI.Page.RaisePostBackEvent(NameValueCollection postData) +35 System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +1724

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:4.0.30319; ASP.NET Version:4.0.30319.18055

Someone also had this error and they said they were using the wrong store to connect to DB and hence the error. I only have one store in my code. There is no other.


I found the problem. It is membership related. Something is not right with my membership connection string. But I don't know what. My app requires registration so authentication is enabled. I left the default settings alone. Also published the mdf file in the App_Data folder. There is a similar question here: Deploying ASP.NET membership to Godaddy. But the solution is not clear and the answer is marked. I added the to the connection string and I see the error

The connection name 'LocalSqlServer' was not found in the applications configuration or the connection string is empty.

So, what should I do? This membership is working flawlessly locally.


I also tried what this one suggests Godaddy ASP.NET membership database woes. I removed the conn string and added with the name "LocalSqlServer" to make Godaddy happy. Then I removed and added the following with this connectionStringName - DefaultProfileProvider, DefaultMembershipProvider, DefaultRoleProvider and DefaultSessionProvider. Still get the same error of system cannot find the specified file.

asked on Stack Overflow Dec 9, 2013 by strider • edited May 23, 2017 by Community

10 Answers


A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. text

Generally issues like this are related to any of the following need to be looked at:

  • firewall settings from the web server to the database server
  • connection string errors
  • enable the appropriate protocol pipes/ tcp-ip

Try connecting to sql server with sql management server on the system that sql server is installed on and work from there. Pay attention to information in the errorlogs.

answered on Stack Overflow Dec 9, 2013 by Mike Beeler

I got same error after publish my project to my physical server. My web application works perfectly on my computer when I compile on VS2013. When I checked connection string on sql server manager, everything works perfect on server too. I also checked firewall (I switched it off). But still didn't work. I remotely try to connect database by SQL Manager with exactly same user/pass and instance name etc with protocol pipe/tcp and I saw that everything working normally. But when I try to open website I'm getting this error. Is there anyone know 4th option for fix this problem?.

NOTE: My App: ASP.NET 4.5 (by VS2013), Server: Windows 2008 R2 64bit, SQL: MS-SQL WEB 2012 SP1 Also other web applications works great at web browsers with their database on same server.

After one day suffering I found the solution of my issue:

First I checked all the logs and other details but i could find nothing. Suddenly I recognize that; when I try to use connection string which is connecting directly to published DB and run application on my computer by VS2013, I saw that it's connecting another database file. I checked local directories and I found it. ASP.NET Identity not using my connection string as I wrote in web.config file. And because of this VS2013 is creating or connecting a new database with the name "DefaultConnection.mdf" in App_Data folder. Then I found the solution, it was in IdentityModel.cs.

I changed code as this:

public class ApplicationUser : IdentityUser

public class ApplicationDbContext : IdentityDbContext<ApplicationUser>
    //public ApplicationDbContext() : base("DefaultConnection") ---> this was original
    public ApplicationDbContext() : base("<myConnectionStringNameInWebConfigFile>") //--> changed

So, after all, I re-builded and published my project and everything works fine now :)

answered on Stack Overflow Mar 25, 2014 by nemerko • edited Dec 21, 2017 by Amirhossein Mehrvarzi

If you encounter this error in GoDaddy after deploying a .Net MVC web application..And your web.config is absolutely correct... Right click your data project select settings and make sure that the correct connection strings to the GoDaddy server is in use

answered on Stack Overflow Nov 14, 2014 by user1526912

I had the same problem - for me it was the SQL Server running out of memory. Freeing up some memory solved the issue

answered on Stack Overflow Sep 23, 2015 by Rasmus • edited Oct 18, 2017 by Ben McQuade

start the sql server agent, that should fix your problem

answered on Stack Overflow Jun 6, 2017 by onyangofred

Server Error in '/' Application.

The system cannot find the file specified

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The system cannot find the file specified

Source Error:

                   SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("select * from tblemployee",con);
                   GridView1.DataSource = cmd.ExecuteReader();

Source File: d:\C# programs\kudvenkat\adobasics1\adobasics1\employeedata.aspx.cs Line: 23

if your error is same like mine..just do this

right click on your table in sqlserver object explorer,choose properties in lower left corner in general option there is a connection block with server and connection specification.in your web config for datasource=. or local choose name specified in server in properties..

answered on Stack Overflow May 3, 2015 by ashish • edited Apr 7, 2016 by Albin

I got this error when starting my ASP.NET application and in my case the problem was that the SQL Server service was not running. Starting that cleared it up.

answered on Stack Overflow Dec 6, 2016 by Joel Anair

Considering that a LocalDb instance only intended for use in development. LocalDb is not available for production servers When you deploy the final result.

I think your connection string is pointing to a LocalDb instance and you need to take certain steps to turn it into the SQL Server database. It's not just a matter of copying an mdf file either. It will possibly differ from one hosting company to another, but typically, you need to create a backup of your existing database (a .bak file) and then restore that to the hosting company's SQL Server. You should ask them where you can find instructions on deploying your database into production.


I had this error and I found that the name of one of my connection strings was wrong. Check the names as well as the actual string.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 30, 2020 by Aaron Hodgson

The most common reason could be the database connection string. You have to change the connection string attachDBFile=|DataDirectory|file_name.mdf. there might be problem in host name which would be (local),localhost or .\sqlexpress.

answered on Stack Overflow May 6, 2014 by Zeshan Khan

User contributions licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0