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TN WW257 How to reset lost SA password in MS SQL Server Express




This article from InSource shows how to reset the sa password in MS SQL Server/Express.

  • Author: Rufus Handsome
  • Published: 07/25/2019
  • Applies to: MS SQL Server 2014 and 2014 Express


If you don't have sysadmin rights to your SQL Server instance, first you will need to change the login method by changing a registry setting. 

1.) Edit the registry settings:

  •  Open the registry editor
  • Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.10.SQLEXPRESS\MSSQLServer" OR equivalent.
  • Note - One thing to note, you may have to search for the "LoginMode" entry using the registry search functions.
  • Change the value of LoginMode from 1 to 2
  • Close the registry editor

2.) Edit Windows Services

  • Open the Services applet in the Control Panel
  • Find the “SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS or equivalent instance)” entry and open its properties
  • Stop the service
  • Enter “-m” into the “Start parameters” field
  • Start the service
  • Open a Command Prompt
  • Enter the command: "osql -S PC_Name   -E"   or    "osql -S PC_NAME\SQLEXPRESS   -E"
    • (Note - Substitute "PC_Name" with your computer name, )

3.) Enter the following Commands at the prompt

  • 1> alter login sa enable
  • 2> go
  • 1> sp_password NULL,'new_password','sa'
  • 2> go
  • 1> quit

4.) Stop the “SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS)” service
5.) Remove the “-m” from the Start parameters field
6.) Start the service

7.) Try to login into SQL Management Studio with the sa account and new password.