Tweak your SQL Server Management Studio! Tip #1

Popups…  I hate them!  I hate them in my web browser, and I hate them in apps.

I’ll confess, sometimes not knowing what you can customize and just working with the default settings can be a great thing.  If you never customize then your experience is always the same out of the box.

I used to play video games and hated the WASD movement keys.  One day I customized it to ESDF which gave me more keys at the pinky to use.  Since then I cannot play a game that requires keyboard movement without first changing all of my keys…  (Gamer problems right?)

A few years ago I attended a presentation about SSMS tips & tricks by Jes Borland at the PASS Summit.  I used some of her tips, and found others.  Now I cannot function until I get everything set up properly, so be careful going down this rabbit hole!


1) I HATE the connection window that pops up when I open SSMS.

EmptyEnvironment My first problem with this is I never type the server name correctly.  My second problem with this is that I can’t move the SSMS window until I either close the popup or connect to an instance.  My main problem is I hate popups, period.  So the first thing I do is get rid of the popups.







So to get rid of the popup, or to change settings after the popup is used in the menu bar click on Tools, and within the drop down select Options.popups01







For the popups click on Startup within the Environment Group.    options02

In the drop down you have the following options:

  1. Open Object Explorer (Default Behavior) – after you connect through the popup you’ll get the explorer tree.
  2. Open new query window – after you connect through the popup a new query window will open, but not the object explorer tree.
  3. Open Object Explorer and Query Window – 1 & 2 combined!  But you still get the popup.
  4. Open Object Explorer and Activity Monitor – 1 + a pretty performance chart that may or may not be helpful.
  5. Open an Empty Environment!  – The reason for this post.  In a later post I’ll cover why this is preferred to me.

After making any of these changes you have to restart SSMS for it to take effect.  In 1-4 you’ll continue to receive that initial popup to choose your connection.  With number 5 SSMS will just open, popup free.

nopopups So clean.


More tips will be forthcoming as I have time to capture them.  Later I’ll detail how to export these changes to your environment to make setup easier later if you change PCs, but it may be worth a quick google to export your default settings in case you don’t like a change!

  13 comments for “Tweak your SQL Server Management Studio! Tip #1

  1. Brian Szadek
    April 24, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Thanks for the tip! Always nice to learn something new about the tool you work in every single day!

    • April 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      You’re welcome Brian! Tip #2 is coming out soon!

  2. April 28, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Echo same comments, great tips! Have you ever tried:
    Start (or WinKey + R) -> Run -> ssms -nosplash
    It bypasses the splash screen.

    • April 29, 2015 at 9:47 am

      I haven’t! But I just tried it. I wasn’t sure if it worked since nothing happened, but then SSMS just opened… another popup down! I’m adding the -nosplash to my shortcut!


  3. Pedro Sousa
    May 4, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Really never thought about that but normally the first thing I need is a new query window… Done!

    Waiting for “what’s next”!

    • May 4, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Glad you found it useful Pedro. I agree, I rarely need a single server in my object explorer, and I typically want to make changes in multiple environments at once.

  4. John Williamson
    May 4, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Nice and clean – just as you said…

    However, I was hoping for hints on how to have one specific server open with multiple existing queries popping up. For example, Server ABC with Queries q1, q2, q7, and q9 loaded.

    Any ideas?

    • May 4, 2015 at 8:44 am

      This may be addressed through something like Projects. I’ll be trying to get a post up on that this week. There’s a great video by Jes Borland (from when she was with Brent Ozar Unlimited) demoing many of these tips and others, including projects. (Projects are around 19:30 into the video)

    • John Wiley
      May 4, 2015 at 8:59 am

      @John WIlliamson – my simple/quick idea: put the desired queries in a folder under your default projects then with File>Open, you can select the set of queries and open them simultaneously… not 1-click, but fewer than otherwise.

      • May 4, 2015 at 9:10 am

        Yeah exactly John thanks! This is what I was thinking, however I’ll be digging in to see if there is more of a one-click option.

  5. Nancy Lytle
    May 4, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Thanks for the tip, I’m using it already on my two machine, 1 to open to empty environment and one to open with query (different reason for each), but when I used the open to query, it opened 3 blank queries. Any idea why?

    • May 4, 2015 at 10:21 am

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re already customizing your environment. I have no idea why that’s happening! I’ve never seen this behavior. Is this from a right-click > New Query menu select?

  6. May 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I usually use either:

    ssms.exe -nosplash -S hermeslibrary -d master (hermeslibrary is a serverinstance I use for testing at home)
    ssms.exe -nosplash c:default.sql

    Unfortunately, the -D and -d does not work together with the filename to open.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *