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Select an Account for the SQL Server Agent Service

The service startup account defines the Microsoft Windows account in which SQL Server Agent runs and its network permissions. SQL Server Agent runs as a specified user account. You select an account for the SQL Server Agent service by using SQL Server Configuration Manager, where you can choose from the following options:

  • Built-in account. You can choose from a list of the following built-in Windows service accounts:

    • Local System account. The name of this account is NT AUTHORITY\System. It is a powerful account that has unrestricted access to all local system resources. It is a member of the Windows Administrators group on the local computer, and is therefore a member of the SQL Server sysadmin fixed server role

      Security note Security Note

      The Local System account option is provided for backward compatibility only. The Local System account has permissions that SQL Server Agent does not require. Avoid running SQL Server Agent as the Local System account. For improved security, use a Windows domain account with the permissions listed in the following section, "Windows Domain Account Permissions."

  • This account. Lets you specify the Windows domain account in which the SQL Server Agent service runs. We recommend choosing a Windows user account that is not a member of the Windows Administrators group. However, there are limitations for using multiserver administration when the SQL Server Agent service account is not a member of the local Administrators group. For more information, see 'Supported Service Account Types' that follows in this topic.

For improved security, select This account, which specifies a Windows domain account. The Windows domain account that you specify must have the following permissions:

  • In all Windows versions, permission to log on as a service (SeServiceLogonRight)

Note Note

The SQL Server Agent service account must be part of the Pre-Windows 2000 Compatible Access group on the domain controller, or jobs that are owned by domain users who are not members of the Windows Administrators group will fail.

  • In Windows servers, the account that the SQL Server Agent Service runs as requires the following permissions to be able to support SQL Server Agent proxies.

    • Permission to bypass traverse checking (SeChangeNotifyPrivilege)

    • Permission to replace a process-level token (SeAssignPrimaryTokenPrivilege)

    • Permission to adjust memory quotas for a process (SeIncreaseQuotaPrivilege)

    • Permission to log on using the batch logon type (SeBatchLogonRight)

Note Note

If the account does not have the permissions required to support proxies, only members of the sysadmin fixed server role can create jobs.

Note Note

To receive WMI alert notification, the service account for SQL Server Agent must have been granted permission to the namespace that contains the WMI events, and ALTER ANY EVENT NOTIFICATION.

The account that the SQL Server Agent service runs as must be a member of the following SQL Server roles:

  • The account must be a member of the sysadmin fixed server role.

  • To use multiserver job processing, the account must be a member of the msdb database role TargetServersRole on the master server.

The following table lists the Windows account types that can be used for the SQL Server Agent service.

Service account type

Non-clustered Server

Clustered server

Domain controller (non-clustered)

Microsoft Windows domain account (member of Windows Administrators group)

Supported

Supported

Supported

Windows domain account (non-administrative)

Supported1

Supported1

Supported1

Network Service account (NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService)

Supported1, 3, 4

Not supported

Not supported

Local user account (non-administrative)

Supported1

Not supported

Not applicable

Local System account (NT AUTHORITY\System)

Supported2

Not supported

Supported2

Local Service account (NT AUTHORITY\LocalService)

Not supported

Not supported

Not supported

1 See Limitation 1 below.

2 See Limitation 2 below.

3 See Limitation 3 below.

4 See Limitation 4 below.

Limitation 1: Using Non-administrative Accounts for Multiserver Administration

Enlisting target servers to a master server may fail with the following error message: "The enlist operation failed."

To resolve this error, restart both the SQL Server and the SQL Server Agent services. For more information, see Start, Stop, Pause, Resume, Restart the Database Engine, SQL Server Agent, or SQL Server Browser Service.

Limitation 2: Using the Local System Account for Multiserver Administration

Multiserver administration is supported when the SQL Server Agent service is run under the Local System account only when both the master server and the target server reside on the same computer. If you use this configuration, the following message is returned when you enlist target servers to the master server:

"Ensure the agent start-up account for <target_server_computer_name> has rights to log on as targetServer."

You can ignore this informational message. The enlistment operation should complete successfully. For more information, see Create a Multiserver Environment.

Limitation 3: Using the Network Service Account When It Is a SQL Server User

SQL Server Agent may fail to start if you run the SQL Server Agent service under the Network Service account, and the Network Service account has been explicitly granted access to log into a SQL Server instance as a SQL Server user.

To resolve this, reboot the computer where SQL Server is running. This only needs to be done once.

Limitation 4: Using the Network Service Account When SQL Server Reporting Services Is Running on the Same Computer

SQL Server Agent may fail to start if you run the SQL Server Agent service under the Network Service account and Reporting Services is also running on the same computer.

To resolve this, reboot the computer where SQL Server is running, and then restart both the SQL Server and the SQL Server Agent services. This only needs to be done once.

To specify the startup account for the SQL Server Agent service

To specify the mail profile for SQL Server Agent

Note Note

Use SQL Server Configuration Manager to specify that SQL Server Agent must start up when the operating system starts.

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