I'm having trouble creating a ArcSDE Connection File. When I bring up the GP tool to do this, I enter the folder I was save the sde file to, enter an name for the file 'MySDEConnect.sde', enter the Server name 'VirtualXP-64180\SQLEXPRESS', enter the Port number I found under SQL Config Manager>SQL Native Client 10.0 Config>Client Protocols>TCP/IP Properties>Default Port which is "1433". I enter ArcSDE database name "MySDEDB" and uncheck Database authentication since I have not entered any username/password for the SQL Express database.

After I enter in the port number in the Service textbox, it shows a Caution sign by the Server saying it can't connect to it. Could I have the port number wrong, if so where do I find the correct one. Any help or direction here would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


You can create a connection file to an SDE Workgroup database with the following steps:

  • In ArcCatalog, create a new database server connection by expanding Database Servers and launching the Add Database Server wizard. Type the name of the database server and the instance (in your case VirtualXP-64180\SQLEXPRESS and click OK)
  • Double click on the connection and once connected right click on the database name (in your case MySDEDB), then click Save Connection
  • Expand Database Connections in ArcCatalog, and you should see a new connection called Connection to VirtualXP-64180. Right click on the connection and click Properties. The connection name will contain the full path to your .sde connection. In my case, the path was: C:\Users\sasa\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.0\ArcCatalog\Connection to sasa_sqlexpress.sde

You can copy the .sde connection to wherever desired and use it as a connection file.

  • I definitely tried 5151 and have had not luck with that. Still won't connect even though my connection under Database Servers works fine. I definitely haven't changed any ports. I tried entering "esri_sde 5151/tcp" in the services file and that didn't help at all. This is SQL Server Express. Not sure what to do now.
    – wilbev
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 19:21
  • The connection file you are trying to create is ONLY for Enterprise ArcSDE databases connecting to Sql Server, Oracle, etc. As you are running a SDE Workgroup database, you will not be able to use the toolbox you are trying to use to create a connection file. I'm not sure if you can actually create connection files for Workgroup SDE. You can connect tot he database server through ArcCatalog by expanding Database Servers and opening the Add Database Server wizard. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 19:29
  • 1
    @willbev: I've fixed my answer to show you how you can connect to an SDE Workgroup database and save the connection to a .sde file. You can't use the toolbox you were trying to use, but the steps above will give you the same connection file you require. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 19:48

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