Forgotten sa password

18 June,2013 by Jack Vamvas

It is frustrating to forget the sa password . Despite maintaining a password vault , it is  possible someone has changed the password or you don’t have access to the password vault. Don’t worry. If you have access to a Local administrator member than this method can help

1) Set the Single-User mode for the SQL Server Instance

go to start->run->type cmd->type services.msc->search  for SQL server (MSSQLserver) name->right click properties->

->under General tab you can see path to executable. Make a note of the sql server executable path  .

 go to start->run->type cmd->type  <sql server executable path> -m s<instance_name>

example if SQL Server Instance is called “Test1”:


C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.3\MSSQL\Binn\sqlserver.exe –m sTest1


a) Stop the SQL Server Agent service before connecting to an instance of SQL Server in single-user mode; otherwise, the SQL Server Agent service uses the connection, thereby blocking it.
b) Using the –s switch avoids the error :  Sql server installation is either corrupt or has been tampered with error getting instance id from name

2) Add a sysadmin account  through SQLCMD


EXEC sp_addsrvrolemember 'Org1\Johnny', 'sysadmin';


3) Return to multiuser mode for the SQL Server Instance

 Stop the single user-mode session

Start the SQL Server Instance in multiuser mode


4) Change sa password

Using either SSMS or SQLCMD , reset the sa password


sp_password NULL,'new_password','sa'


Maintaining weak passwords leads to security dangers. More on the dangers of weak passwords: 10 million passwords unmasked 


Read More weak passwords,ALTER LOGIN and Account Locked out

Find Weak passwords in SQL Server - SQL Server DBA

sp_password and ALTER LOGIN - SQL Server DBA

Account Locked out - SQL Server DBA

Author: Jack Vamvas (


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