SQL Server Tutorial :: Recover The SA password

The most important thing about your password is how hard it is to guess. Technically, those of us in the industry call this password entropy.

Now you might be thinking: the best way to increase password entropy is to make the password longer. But what you think and what people actually do are different things – we have seen how short most people choose to make their passwords. When you are using MS SQL Server in mixed mode, it is very important that you know your SA password.hfl-sql1

There can be different reasons you lost the password

  • Person who installed the SQL Server knows the password but has left the building.
  • You did not write down the password in your password file
  • Password file is lost

Steps to recover the SA password

  • Start SQL Server Configuration Manager


  • Stop the SQL services


  • Edit the properties of the SQL Service


  • Change the startup parameters of the SQL service by adding a –m; in front of the existing parametersEasy-Steps-to-recover-SA-password-on-Microsoft-SQL-Server-2008-R24-300x261
  • Start the SQL services. These are now running in Single User Mode.
  • Start CMD on tthe SQL server
  • Start the SQLCMD command. Now you will see following screen.Easy-Steps-to-recover-SA-password-on-Microsoft-SQL-Server-2008-R25-555
  • Now we create a new user. Enter following commands
    • CREATE LOGIN recovery WITH PASSWORD = ‘TopSecret 1′ (Remember SQL server has default strong password policy
    • Go
      • Now this user is created
  • Now we grant the user a SYSADMIN roles using the same SQLCMD window.
    • sp_addsrvrolemember ‘recovery’, ‘sysadmin’
    • go
  • Stop the SQL service again
  • Change the SQL service properties back to the default settings
  • Start the SQL service again and use the new created login (recovery in my example)
  • Go via the security panel to the properties and change the password of the SA account.
  • Now write down the new SA password