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Configuring an Account for Unattended Report Processing

Updated: 12 December 2006

SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services provides a special account that is used for unattended report processing and for sending connection requests across the network. The account is used in the following ways:

  • Send connection requests over the network for reports that use database authentication, or connect to external report data sources that do not require or use authentication. For more information, see Specifying Credential and Connection Information in SQL Server Books Online.
  • Retrieve external image files that are used in report. If you want to use an image file and the file cannot be accessed through Anonymous access, you can configure the unattended report processing account and grant the account permission to access the file. For more information about the unattended execution account is used for retrieving images, see Adding an Image to a Report in SQL Server Books Online.

Unattended report processing refers to any report execution process that is triggered by an event (either a schedule-driven event or data refresh event) rather than a user request. The report server uses the unattended report processing account to log on to the computer that hosts the external data source. This account is necessary because the credentials of the Report Server Windows service account or Web service account are never used to connect to other computers.

ms156302.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
Configuring the account is optional. However, if you do not configure it, you will limit your options for connecting to some data sources, and you might not be able to retrieve image files from remote computers. If you do configure the account, you must keep it up to date. Specifically, if you allow a password to expire or the account information is changed in Active Directory, you will encounter the following error the next time a report is processed: "Logon failed (rsLogonFailed) Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password." Proper maintenance of the unattended report processing account is essential, even if you never retrieve external images or send connection requests to external computers. If you configure the account but then find that you are not using it, you can delete it to avoid routine account maintenance tasks.

To create the account, you can use the Reporting Services Configuration tool or the rsconfig utility. The easiest way to configure the unattended execution account is to run the Reporting Services Configuration tool and specify credentials in the Execution Account page.

  1. Start the Reporting Services Configuration tool and connect to the report server instance you want to configure. For instructions, see How to: Start Reporting Services Configuration.
  2. On the Execution Account page, select Specify an execution account.
  3. Type the account and password, retype the password, and then click Apply.

The account must be a domain user account. To server its intended purpose, this account should be different than the one used to run the Report Server Windows service or Web service. Be sure to use an account that has minimum permissions (read-only access is sufficient) and limited access to just those computers that provide data sources and resources to the report server. For more information, see How to: Start Reporting Services Configuration.

Using RSCONFIG Utility

Another way to set the account is to use the rsconfig utility. To specify the account, use the -e argument of rsconfig. Specifying the -e argument for rsconfig directs the utility to write the account information to the configuration file. You do not need to specify a path to RSreportserver.config. Follow these steps to configure the account.

  1. Create or select a domain account that has access to computers and servers that provide data or services to a report server. You should use an account that has reduced permissions (for example, read-only permissions).
  2. Open a command prompt: On the Start menu, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
  3. Type the following command to configure the account on a local report server instance:
    rsconfig -e -u< domain / username > -p< password >

rsconfig -e supports additional arguments. For more information about syntax and to view command examples, see rsconfig Utility in SQL Server Books Online.

How Account Information is Stored

When you set the account, you specify the following settings in the RSreportserver.config file on a local or remote report server instance:

<UnattendedExecutionAccount>
     <UserName></UserName>
     <Password></Password>
     <Domain></Domain>
</UnattendedExecutionAccount>

The values are encrypted. Once you set the values, you cannot decrypt them to view the values in plain text. If you mistype the values or forget the values you specified, you must use the Reporting Services Configuration tool or run rsconfig -e to start over.

To retrieve image files, the report server uses the account automatically and no specific action is required on your part. To connect to external data sources that provide data to reports, you must specify a Credential Type option in the data source properties page of the report data source or shared data source:

  • In Report Manager or Management Studio, select the Credentials are not required option.
  • On a SharePoint site for a report server that runs in SharePoint integrated mode, select the Unattended report processing option.

The unattended report processing account is used to connect to external servers, but it is not intended to be used to login to database servers. If you want to use the account credentials to log in to a database, you must specify credentials in the connection string. You can specify Integrated Security=SSPI if the database server supports Windows integrated security and the account used for unattended report processing has permission to read the database. Otherwise, you must enter the user name and password in the connection string, where it appears in clear text to any user who has permission to edit data source connection properties.

Although you are not prevented from using the unattended report processing account to retrieve data after the connection is made, doing so is not recommended. The account is supposed to be used for very specific functions. If you use it to retrieve data, you undermine the purpose for which it is intended.

Once you define the account, you must ensure that the account and password are kept up to date. You can use the Reporting Services Configuration tool to update the configuration settings that store information about this account.

  1. Start the Reporting Services Configuration tool and connect to the report server instance you want to configure.
  2. On the Execution Account page, verify that Specify an execution account is selected.
  3. Type the new account or password, retype the password, and then click Apply.

If you are not using the account, you can delete it to avoid routine account maintenance tasks.

  1. Start the Reporting Services Configuration tool and connect to the report server instance you want to configure.
  2. On the Execution Account page, clear Specify an execution account.
  3. Click Apply.

The account information is removed from the RSReportServer.config file.

Change History

Release History

12 December 2006

New content:
  • Important restrictions regarding the unattended account.
Changed content:
  • How to configure the account.
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