If you're getting this error, take the steps in this article.
By default, Windows Firewall is enabled on most Windows operating systems. This may block SQL Server from properly running across your network. You may need to either disable your Firewall (if you have a standalone firewall running) or add exceptions to the Firewall on the Server computer hosting Acctivate to allow SQL Server services to run across the network properly.
Follow the step-by-step instructions from our Firewall exceptions for Acctivate article and add an exception for SQL Server Service (the instance of SQL Server Acctivate is running, usually called ‘ACCTIVATE’) as well as an exception for the SQL Server Browser Service.
On your server, open the Services window. Right-Click the SQL Server (ACCTIVATE) service and select ‘Properties’. Here, you should be able to view the path to the executable. For instance, you should see something like:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQLServer\MSSQL$ACCTIVATE\Binn\sqlservr.exe”
This is the file you should use to add as an exception to your firewall.
Repeat these steps for the SQL Server Browser service as well.