sql server can't log in - sql server 2008

I installed sql server managment (express) studio on my laptop and want to go in where I can create new databases.  I am on the connect to server screen but when i click on connect I get a message back say that there is a error locating the instance specified.

I have selected various items in the dropdown under server name but none work...

What to do?
vbnetcoderAsked:
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Ephraim WangoyaConnect With a Mentor Commented:

start configuration manager from SQL Server 2008 group
Microsoft SQL Server 2008->Configuration Tools->SQL Configuration Manager

Check the services running and make sure the instance you are selecting exists and is actually running
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bitrefCommented:
Try the following:

Server Name: .
Authentication: Windows Authentication
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DBAduck - Ben MillerPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Remember that depending on the Edition of SQL Server you installed it will have varying things for the Instance.

SQL Express usually has the machine\sqlexpress as the instance name.

But you will have to determine that.  You can use method above by using SQL Server Configuration Manager, or you can do a sqlcmd -L on a command prompt if sqlcmd is installed and this will list the instances it finds.

But ultimately you will have to have an instance name and default instances are just the machinename and the other instances are named and will have machinename\instancename.

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vbnetcoderAuthor Commented:
ty
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