Universal Data Link (.udl) Files

This is one of those tools that ends up at the bottom of your toolbox, but you never forget once you’ve used it to get out of a jam. I use them for 2 reasons:

Quick Connectivity Verification

  1. Right click on the desktop
  2. New > Text Document
  3. The name doesn’t matter, but change the extension to .udl, and the new icon should look like:
  4. Opening the file allows you to verify that you can connect to the specified database

Connection String Syntax

  1. After successfully connecting to a database, change the extension back to .txt
  2. Open the .txt file, and notice that you know have the connection string syntax for the connection that you just tested.

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