Lost SA Password for SQL Server 2012, 2008, 2005

May 3, 2014

Lost the SA password you set during SQL Server setup? How to obtain access to SQL Server after the SA account got locked out or disabled? Don’t panic! With the SQL Server password recovery tool you can reset lost SA password and unlock SQL Server without reinstalling.

How to Reset Lost SA Password for SQL Server 2012, 2008 and 2005?

The SA login is stored in the master database (master.mdf) file, but this file is inaccessible while SQL Server is running. To unlock SA account in SQL Server, you need to first stop your SQL Server instance, and then install SQL Server Password Changer on your local computer.

Start the SQL Server Password Changer program. Click on Open File button and select the master database (master.mdf) for your SQL Server instance. For example, in SQL Server 2008 Express the master.mdf file resides in the following location:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.SQLEXPRESS\MSSQL\DATA

After you’ve chosen the master database file, the program will analyze the file format and extract all database users from it. Choose the SA account and click on Change Password button. In the pop-up window, enter your desired new password and click OK.

The program will reset the SA password, and also enable / unlock the SA account when it is disabled or locked out. Start your SQL Server instance and you can then successfully connect to your SA account using your new password. Done!

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