SQL Server installation fails after default user rights are removed

This article helps you resolve a problem that occurs when you install or upgrade Microsoft SQL Server after you tighten security.

Applies to: SQL Server


Consider the scenario where you're running Microsoft SQL Server in Windows. To tighten security, you remove some default user rights from the local administrators group. To set up SQL Server on the system, you add the setup account to the local administrators group.

In this scenario, if you try to install or upgrade SQL Server, the installation process fails, and you might receive an error message that resembles one of the messages that are listed as follows:

  • Scenario 1: If a new installation fails, you receive the following error message:

    Access is denied

    You may also receive error messages that resemble the following in the Detail.txt file:

    2009-01-02 13:00:17 SQLEngine: --SqlServerServiceSCM: Waiting for nt event 'Global\sqlserverRecComplete$NIIT' to be created  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 SQLEngine: --SqlServerServiceSCM: Waiting for nt event 'Global\sqlserverRecComplete$NIIT' or sql process handle to be signaled  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: Configuration action failed for feature SQL_Engine_Core_Inst during timing ConfigRC and scenario ConfigRC.  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: Access is denied  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: Configuration action failed for feature SQL_Engine_Core_Inst during timing ConfigRC and scenario ConfigRC.  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: Access is denied  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at System.Diagnostics.ProcessManager.OpenProcess(Int32 processId, Int32 access, Boolean throwIfExited)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at System.Diagnostics.Process.GetProcessHandle(Int32 access, Boolean throwIfExited)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at System.Diagnostics.Process.OpenProcessHandle()  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at System.Diagnostics.Process.get_Handle()  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlEngine.SqlServerServiceBase.WaitSqlServerStart(Process processSql)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlEngine.SqlServerServiceSCM.StartSqlServer(String[] parameters)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlEngine.SqlServerStartup.StartSQLServerForInstall(String sqlCollation, String masterFullPath, Boolean isConfiguringTemplateDBs)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlEngine.SqlEngineDBStartConfig.ConfigSQLServerSystemDatabases(EffectiveProperties properties, Boolean isConfiguringTemplateDBs, Boolean useInstallInputs)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlEngine.SqlEngineDBStartConfig.DoCommonDBStartConfig(ConfigActionTiming timing)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlEngine.SqlEngineDBStartConfig.Install(ConfigActionTiming timing, Dictionary<string, string> actionData, PublicConfigurationBase spcb)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlConfigBase.PrivateConfigurationBase.Execute(ConfigActionScenario scenario, ConfigActionTiming timing, Dictionary<string, string> actionData, PublicConfigurationBase spcbCurrent)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlConfigBase.SqlFeatureConfigBase.Execute(ConfigActionScenario scenario, ConfigActionTiming timing, Dictionary<string, string> actionData, PublicConfigurationBase spcbCurrent)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlConfigBase.SlpConfigAction.ExecuteAction(String actionId)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp:    at Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SqlConfigBase.SlpConfigAction.Execute(String actionId, TextWriter errorStream)  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: Exception: System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception.  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: Source: System.  
    2009-01-02 13:00:20 Slp: Message: Access is denied.  
  • Scenario 2: If a new installation of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 fails, you receive one of the following error messages:

    Rule "Setup account privileges" failed.  
    The account that is running SQL Server Setup doesn't have one or all of the following rights: the right to back up files and directories, the right to manage auditing and the security log and the right to debug programs. To continue, use an account with both of these rights.
  • Scenario 3: If the installation of SQL Server 2012 or a later version fails when you specify a network share (UNC path) for the backup directory location, you receive the following error message:

    SQL Server setup account does not have the `SeSecurityPrivilege` on the specified file server in the path *\<UNC backup location>*. This privilege is required to set folder security in the SQL Server setup program. To grant this privilege, use the Local Security Policy console on this file server to add SQL Server setup account to **Manage auditing and security log** policy. This setting is available in the **User Rights Assignments** section under Local Policies in the Local Security Policy console.


    This issue occurs because the SQL Server setup account doesn't have the SeSecurityPrivilege permissions on the file server that hosts the network share.


If you are running the setup as a local administrator, you require the following user rights for setup to run successfully:

Local Group Policy Object display name User right
Backup files and directories SeBackupPrivilege
Debug Programs SeDebugPrivilege
Manage auditing and security log SeSecurityPrivilege


For more information about the permissions that are required to install SQL Server, see the "Prerequisites" section in the following articles:

If a storage option for data directory or other directories (user database directory, user database log directory, TempDB directory, TempDB log directory, or backup directory) uses SMB file share, the Setup account requires the following additional permissions on the SMB file server as described in Install SQL Server with SMB file share storage.

SMB Network share folder FULL CONTROL SQL Setup account
SMB Network share folder FULL CONTROL SQL Server and SQL Server Agent Service account
SMB File server SeSecurityPrivilege SQL setup account


To add the rights to the setup account, follow these steps:

  1. Log on as an administrator.
  2. Select Start > Run, type Control admintools, and then select OK.
  3. Double-click Local Security Policy.
  4. In the Local Security Settings dialog box, select Local Policies, open User Rights Assignment, and then double-click Backup Files and Directories.
  5. In the Backup Files and Directories Properties dialog box, select Add User or Group.
  6. In the Select User or Groups dialog box, enter the user account that you want to use for setup, and then select OK two times.


    To add the user account for the Debug Programs and Manage auditing and security log policies, perform steps 1 through 6 .

  7. From File menu, open the Local Security Settings dialog box, and then select Exit to close.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why is SeSecurityPrivilege required on the file server for the backup directory on the UNC share?

This permission is required to retrieve Access Control Lists (ACLs) on the default backup directory to make sure that the SQL Server service account has full permissions on the folder. The service account also sets the ACLs if permissions are missing for the SQL service account so that a backup of the directory can be run. The setup program runs these checks for the default backup directory so that if a backup is performed post-installation, you won't experience an error (because of missing permissions).


SeSecurityPrivilege is required to change the get/set ACLs from the directories and subfolders. This is true even if users who have FULL CONTROL permissions on the directories don't have permissions to get/set OWNER and audit information from the directory.

Why does the error that's described in scenario 3 occur only in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and later versions?

Starting in SQL Server 2012, Microsoft provides support for data and log files on the SMB file share. As part of this improvement, the setup experience is further enhanced to tighten the security checks so that customers don't encounter errors or issues because of insufficient permissions post-installation. In pre-SQL Server 2012 versions, users can still set up the network share path for the backup directory if the SQL Service account doesn't have permissions to run a backup. However, those users will experience an error post-installation in this situation. These scenarios are now prevented when you start the SQL 2012 setup check on a network share.

More information

  • To check the list of privileges that are currently associated with the setup account, use the AccessChk.exe tool. To download this tool, see AccessChk v6.13.

    Usage: accesschk.exe- a \<setup account> *

    For example: c:\tools\accesschk.exe -a testdc\setupaccount *

      Sample output:
  • For more information, see Configure Windows Service Accounts and Permissions.