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My question is will SQLEXPRESS work in both SQL and Windows authentication modes? I believe the answer is no, but I am not sure.

We have a commercial application that will only work with SQL authentication. We already have a SQLEXPRESS 2008 server, but it is set up for Windows authentication. If I create a user with SQL authentication and try to log in, the Application log says

Login failed for user 'cnorton'. 
Reason: An attempt to login using SQL authentication failed. 
Server is configured for Windows authentication only. 

So, do I need to deploy a separate SQLEXPRESS server, or are there settings unknown to me right now, that would allow both authentication modes?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You don't specify what version of SQL Server Express you're running but as far as I know this has always been and still is possible. The following article details how to do it with SQL Server Express 2012.

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Thanks. Added the version, 2008. – octopusgrabbus Aug 28 '12 at 19:10
@octopusgrabbus Joeqwerty is correct, the link he provided will work for 2008 as well. – JMeterX Aug 28 '12 at 19:17

yes we can authenticate both ways. Please follow the following steps:

  • Download and install SQL Server Managment Studio (SSMS).
  • Use SSMS to connect to your server, use Windows Authentication
  • Right-click server - Properties - Security tab
  • Select "SQL Server and Windows authentication mode" click OK button
  • Right-click server - Select Restart
  • Go to node Security-Logins
  • Right-click on login "sa", select properties
  • Enter password (twice) on the general tab
  • Select Status tab
  • Select "Grant" under "Permission to connect to database engine"
  • Select "Enabled" under "Login"
  • Click OK
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