Using the DAC with SSMS


I’m writing this post as a way to help motivate the #SQLNewBloggers out there. Read the bottom for a few notes on structuring a post.

While troubleshooting another issue, I needed to connect to SQL Server with the DAC. I couldn’t remember the syntax, so I looked it up quickly and ran into this link: Diagnostic Connection for Database Administrators. I added the ADMIN: to my connection in SSMS for a query window and clicked Connect.


This took entirely too long and then I got this:


That error resulted in a rabbit trail for me to debug this, but it worked out and I’ve learned a few things. The main one is to be sure that I’ve read the documentation and errors correctly.

As I tried a few things, including SQLCMD, I realized I had issues. I searched and found that the DAC gets set to a specific port. I checked the error log to get the number.


With that, I added it to my connection dialog, sure that this would work, but of course, it didn’t.


Eventually I stumbled on the post about errors and realized I should have checked the SQL Browser earlier. I thought about it, but discarded that thought because I could connect in other ways. Mistake. Check networking first, and networking is where the browser comes in. Sure enough, it was stopped.


The properties were set to DISABLED, so I had to change that before I could start it. I assume you can do that, if not, poke around the properties until you find that setting. With that changed, I started the service.


Then I could connect. Here’s the SQLCMD version.


With this working, the first command dialog at the top of this piece worked from an SSMS query window.


This was longer. What I thought was a quick lookup turned into a troubleshooting exercise that lasted about 20 minutes as I searched, read, experimented, etc. At least I made a bunch of screenshots as I was experimenting, so I had lots of data and didn’t duplicate anything.

The actual writing was only about 10 minutes, most of that looking through screenshots and trying to organize my thoughts.


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