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I installed SQLServer 2008 Express and pretty much took all the defaults. After about a week of running an app that hits this database I changed the administrator password for the server. About a day later, the SQLServer service wouldn't start. I assume these events are related so I go into the Sql Server Configuration Manager. I try to start the service but it won't start so I open the properties for SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS). The Log On tab shows that the service is set to log on as .\administrator. I figure the problem is that I changed the administrator password and need to make these changes here. I put in the new password but it tells me the specified network password is not correct. I'm pretty sure I typed it in right so I'm assuming me and sql server aren't talking about the same administrator. I got it working by setting the administrator password back to what it used to be but I'd really like to be able to change it without breaking SQLEXPRESS. Any ideas what I'm missing?


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The best way to do this is to create an account specifically for SQL server to run under. For example, create a windows account (a domain account if possible) called "Jeff_SQLExpress" or something like that. Then, use the configuration manager to change the account SQL express runs as to be this new account.

It's not a great idea to have services running as administrator anyway. Separating the service account from the Administrator account would solve both issues.

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I tried your advice on my test server here and it worked fine. I know I had tried to set it to use my personal login on the other server and it didn't work. Does this account need to be a new one? – Jeff Aug 10 '10 at 20:53
there is an additional run-as-service privilege the account requires. ensure your personal acc has it – james Aug 11 '10 at 1:12
@Jeff: It does not need to be a new account. However, it is a best practice that the SQL Server service use it's own account. – NYSystemsAnalyst Aug 11 '10 at 12:32
the SQL Server Browser is running as "NT AUTHORITY\LOCALSERVICE". Is that its own account that that SQLEXPRESS should be running under? – Jeff Aug 11 '10 at 18:29
You can leave the SQL Browser as Local Service. Change the SQL Server account and the SQL Agent account to be an actual domain account. – NYSystemsAnalyst Aug 23 '10 at 14:43

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