Business Intelligence

How to transfer cached SQL Server names in SSMS between machines

By September 5, 2017 February 7th, 2019 No Comments

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) has a helpful feature that remembers that last 15 SQL server instances to which you’ve connected, displaying them in a dropdown list within the Connect to Server window. This eliminates the need to remember or track the often-times complex server names we use on a daily basis.

SQL Server image

But when it comes time to upgrade to a new machines – or worse, you are forced to wipe your system and reinstall everything – that list of servers disappears!

SQL server image

Panic and despair sets in, and you start praying that documentation exists somewhere to help you start rebuilding that precious list of servers.

Fear not – a solution has been found!

Step 1

On your old system, navigate to the following directory:

C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SQL Server Management Studio\[SQL Version #]

NOTE: If you cannot find this directory while browsing This PC make sure that Hidden Items is checked under the View tab at the top of the window

How to transfer cached SQL Server names in SSMS between machines image

Here you will find a file named SqlStudio.bin.

sql studio image

Copy this file to your new system (I like to copy it to my desktop for the sake of convenience)

Step 2

After installing SSMS on your new system, navigate to the same directory as before:

C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SQL Server Management Studio\[SQL Version #]

IMPORTANT: SSMS should not be open during this step. If it is open, close it.

sql server management studio image

You will find the same SqlStudio.bin file as you did in Step 1, only this time instead of copying, you are going to rename it. I renamed mine to SqlStudio_Original

Step 3

Move the SqlStudio.bin file you copied to your new system in Step 1 to the same directory:

sql studio image

Step 4

Open SSMS and you will find all the servers from your old machine in the Server Name dropdown list!

SQL Server image

If for any reason you need to undo this process:

  1. Close SSMS
  2. Navigate to the directory in Step 2
  3. Delete SqlStudio.bin
  4. Rename SqlStudio_Original back to SqlStudio
  5. Reopen SSMS

The above process has been successfully tested between 2 computers running Windows 10 with the old system running SQL Server 2016 (v13) and the new system running SSMS 17.1 (v14).

Michael Gombasy

Author Michael Gombasy

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