SharePoint 2010 Configuration Wizard – Cannot connect to database master at SQL Server at server_name

This happened today and I’d like to share with you guys. The SharePoint 2010 Configuration Wizard sometimes gives you error messages that can mislead you about the root cause of the problem.  Take the following error message as an example:

“Cannot connect to database master at SQL Server at <server_name>. The
database might not exist, or the current user does not have permission
to connect to it.”

I got this error message trying to run the Configuration Wizard on a WFE server in a farm. I’ve seen several blog posts about this error message and the cause can vary a lot. After checking the possible cause I found out that the server name used by this WFE has already been used by an old server that used to be part of the same farm.

In order to solve it, I removed the old server from the farm using Central Administration, cancelled the configuration wizard and reran it. The wizard worked as a charm.

This kind of experience makes me think: is it so much harder to thrown meaningful error message instead of misleading ones?

Am I being excessively demanding?

See you,