I failed to connect to a production SQL server. My administrator reset my password, and told me what it was.

SQL Server Management Studio gives me this error: Login failed for user 'Bill'. Reason: The password of the account must be changed. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 18488)

So, how can I reset my password?

I tried terminaling into the server with this account, but it said that account doesn't exist. So I guess it's not a regular server account--just SQL server. (if that helps)


If SSMS isn't prompting you to change your password, have the DBA remove the change password requirement, and give you instructions on how to change your password via the sp_password system stored procedure.

  • The DBA removed the change-password requirement, and I was able to login. – Bill Paetzke Sep 22 '09 at 21:03
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    To add to this, you must use the "Connect to Server" action in SSMS (at least for SSMS v17). If you have Registered Servers and try to connect that way, the password change dialog will not appear and you will just keep on getting the error. – Chris Simmons Dec 28 '17 at 17:06

In Security/Logins/[your user], Properties: Uncheck the option Enforce password policity, this should solve the problem.


Looks like a Windows password policy has been enforced in SQL Server: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms161959.aspx.

If this is a SQL Server internal login (as opposed to a Windows one), there's nothing you can do about that; only a DB administrator can reset passwords for SQL Server users.


Actually you can change it via SSMS. Right Click on the Server under the registered tab and Select New Query. This should prompt you to change your Password. Why it won't do it when you try to connect to the Object explorer is one of those Microsoft mysteries.



It is very simple to solve this error.

  1. Open the properties page of the login (right click and choose properties)
  2. Click on Status and check "Disabled" under Login to disable the login and click OK to close the properties page
  3. Open again the properties pages and click on General: Uncheck "Enforce password policy and "Enforce password expiration" boxes
  4. Click on Status and "Enables" to enable the login and click OK
  • I believe if he cannot connect to the SQL server, and therefore doesn't have administrative access to the SQL server, he cannot accomplish any of the tasks you list. – rmalayter Nov 4 '15 at 15:20

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