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When I attempt add an existing domain user to the server role, sysadmin, I am not able to do so. I am logged in as the SysAdmin. I execute sp_addsrvrolemember (or do it through the gui). I get no errors. But that user is not added to the sysadmin group.

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Well, mystery solved. The system administrators on the box had installed some 3rd party software (McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention) and it was blocking the sp_addsrvrolemember call. no one told me this had been added. We built in a rule to allow the change. It now works.

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Are you logged in as an admin in SQL or an admin in windows. Theya re not necessarily the same and by default (unless you specify otherwise during the install) local system admins are not sql admins. (AFAIK this was not a MIcrosoft design decision but a request from many DBA's in general, similarly sql server 2008 has group policies, but it's their own group policies)

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On top of what Jim B said, you first also have to add the domain account as a user on the SQL instance. Under Security in the Object Browser, right-click Logins and do New User, or use TSQL:


Just pointing that out in case you haven't done it yet :)

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