Distribution Agent fails with: Error Locating Server/Instance Specified [xFFFFFFFF].

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Sateesh Yele | Microsoft SQL Server Support


Distribution Agent is failing when connecting to subscriber server when replicating between cross domain servers.

Consider this, you are setting up replication between 64 bit edition servers that are cross domain and the Distribution Agent is failing with the following error in Replication Monitor.

The process could not connect to Subscriber ‘SubscriberServerName’.

When you enable detailed verbose logging for the Distribution Agent, you may also see the following messages in the log.

Agent message code 20084. The process could not connect to Subscriber ‘SubscriberServerName’.
SQL Server Network Interfaces: Error Locating Server/Instance Specified [xFFFFFFFF].

‘A network-related or instance-specific error has occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. Server is not found or not accessible. Check if instance name is correct and if SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. For more information see SQL Server Books Online.’

You can connect to the subscriber from Management Studio and query the subscription database but the Distribution Agent still fails with connection errors.


The 32-bit Subscriber alias exists, but missing 64-bit alias for the Subscriber server name.

Distribution Agent fails to connect if the 64-bit alias for the subscriber server is missing at the publisher/distributor server.  SQL Server Management Studio is running in 32 bit mode will use the (32bit) alias.


Run SQL Server Configuration Manager and create identical alias in both 32bit and 64bit “SQL Native Client 10.0 Configuration” panes.


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About: ReplTalk

4 thoughts on “Distribution Agent fails with: Error Locating Server/Instance Specified [xFFFFFFFF].”

  1. Hi Chrissk,

    What if distribution agent stiil fails with the above message, aliases being added in both 32 as well as 64 bit SQL NAtive Client 10.0 panes

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