Clear Server Names From List in SQL Server Management Studio

In Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) a history of the server names you connect to are kept in the connection dialog’s server name field drop down list. Often servers can be replaced, you move on to other projects, connect to the wrong server, etc. and this list can become cluttered.

Here is how you clear items from this list.

  1. Open the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) version you want to affect.
  2. Open the Connect to Server dialog (File->Connect Object Explorer, Object Explorer->Connect->Database Engine, etc.).
  3. Click on the Server Name field drop down list’s down arrow.
  4. Hover over the items you want to remove.
  5. Press the delete (DEL) key on your keyboard.
  6. Repeat 4-5 for each server you want to remove from the list.

There are other ways to do this as well, like removing your MRU.DAT or SqlStudio.bin file from SSMS’s directory. However, it’s a little more difficult and resets all of your customized settings (those in Tools->Options). This could lead to changes to your Transaction Isolation Level, Results or Text Editor settings, etc. That isn’t much fun since we all spend a bunch of time getting those setup just right.


22 thoughts on “Clear Server Names From List in SQL Server Management Studio

  1. I could have used this a hundred times over the past few years. I know it will come in handy on a regular basis. Thanks for posting!

  2. Works fine for me in
    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (SP1) – 10.50.2500.0 (X64)
    Jun 17 2011 00:54:03
    Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation
    Enterprise Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.1 (Build 7601: Service Pack 1) (Hypervisor)


  3. Please help. I want to know how to delete a duplicated SQL Server 2012 instance. I managed to delete it through Management Studio but it still comes up when I do a server lookup when setting up a SQL Server ODBC connection. My application which connect to SQL Server db using ODBC driver is now prompting for the user to select an instance before it connects. I suspect the duplication is the cause of the problem as the app connects straight p where there is no duplicated instance.

    1. Hi Martin. Sorry for the delay in responding. I didn’t get notified of your comment.

      This can happen when an alias is setup and both the instance name and the alias are the same. I hope that helps!

      1. You can remove or change the alias in SQL Server Configuration Manager. Expand SQL Server Native ClientConfiguration and click aliases. You’ll see the alias you’re using listed. You can change or remove it (considering the consequences for your environment). It just can’t be the same as your SQL instance or you’ll have the problem you’re having with duplicates.

  4. Is there any way to back up this list, or better yet, PREVENT that list from being deleted? I had quite a few connections listed and discovered they were all gone after updating with the latest patch.

    Thanks in advance,


    1. You should be able to backup the files I mention at the bottom of the article (MRU.DAT & SqlStudio.bin). It won’t prevent them from being deleted, but would at least allow you to restore them. Please let me know if this works if you try it out.

  5. Thanks Nathon. I have at least a dozen of these connections and entering them all back in is a real pain. Now, if Microsoft would only have the foresight to add a description field for their connection string on the login window, we’d be cooking with gas.

  6. Wow!!
    I don’t know it could be this easy. I was trying to clean the list from regedit!!
    Lucky I found this page. Thanks Nathon!!

  7. Thank you Nathon Dalton,
    The trick worked in MS SQL 2014 Management Studio.
    On drop down list, I hovered on server name to highlight it and then pressed delete key.
    Thanks again

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