xp_cmdshell (server configuration option)

Applies to: SQL Server

This article describes how to enable the xp_cmdshell SQL Server configuration option. This option allows system administrators to control whether the xp_cmdshell extended stored procedure can be executed on a system. By default, the xp_cmdshell option is disabled on new installations.

Before enabling this option, it's important to consider the potential security implications.

  • Newly developed code shouldn't use the xp_cmdshell stored procedure and generally it should be left disabled.
  • Some legacy applications require xp_cmdshell to be enabled. If they can't be modified to avoid the use of this stored procedure, you can enable it as described below.


If xp_cmdshell must be used, as a security best practice it is recommended to only enable it for the duration of the actual task that requires it.

If you need to enable xp_cmdshell, you can use Policy-Based Management or run the sp_configure system stored procedure as shown in the following code example:

-- To allow advanced options to be changed.  
EXECUTE sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;  
-- To update the currently configured value for advanced options.  
-- To enable the feature.  
EXECUTE sp_configure 'xp_cmdshell', 1;  
-- To update the currently configured value for this feature.  

Next steps