How to Unlock SQL Server SA Account?

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Summary: This blog provides the method to unlock SQL server SA account when you are facing the troublesome situation in accessing your SQL account.

There are chances that some of you are facing the failure of logging in to the SQL server SA account after trying multiple attempts. The following error message can be seen while logging:

"Login failed for user 'sa' because the account is currently locked out. The system administrator can unlock it. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 18486)".

There can be various reasons behind the locking of SQL server System Administrator account. So, l have identified some of the reasons which are discussed below.

Reasons for SQL Server SA Account Locked Out

In SQL server there can be some reasons due to which System Administrator gets locked out are as follows:

  1. You forgot the SA login password.
  2. Deactivation of SA account.
  3. Unintentionally removal of all the logins members of the sysadmin fixed server role.
  4. The elimination of all Windows Groups members of the sysadmin fixed server role unknowingly.
  5. The use of login members of the sysadmin fixed server role which do not exist or no more in the company.
  6. Enabling the option of Enforce password policy and your company has utilized account lockout after multiple login attempts.

Therefore, it is advisable that you should keep your eye on the above reasons to prevent the issue of SA account getting locked. Now, let’s move to unlock SQL server SA account.

Solution to Unlock SQL Server SA Account

1. Disable Password Enforcement Policy to Unlock SA Account

In this method use Windows Authentication to log into SQL Server Management Studio. For this, follow the below steps:

  • Launch SQL Server Management Studio and log in by choosing the Windows Authentication.
  • Connect to Server
  • Navigate to folders Security >> Logins >> sa, and double click on sa account.
  • Object Explorer
  • A new window of Login Properties will pop up. Choose General page, deselect the box of Enforce password policy, and click on OK.
  • Login Properties General
  • Go to the Status page, check the box in front of Login is locked out is not selected. Therefore, now you can log into SA of SQL Server.
  • Login Properties Status

2. Use SQL Server Password Recovery Tool

There is another way to get rid of SQL server SA locked up by using the SysInfo SQL Server Password Recovery Tool. From this tool, you can reset the password in case you have lost the password or forgot the password. The free version of this tool shows you first two characters of the lost password.

Summing Up

I have discussed the reasons for locking out of SA account so you should keep in mind. The manual, as well as expert solution, is provided here to unlock SQL server SA account. You can choose any method wisely which suits your situation the best.

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