I'm having enormous trouble starting SQL Server Agent. I have one server that is running two instances of SQL Server - one the agent works fine on the other no luck with multiple things I've tried. I simply see the line "SQL Server Agent (Agent XPs disabled) - any clues would be most appreciated!
You may just have to reconfigure the setting
sp_configure 'show advanced options',1
sp_configure 'Agent XPs',1
sp_configure 'show advanced options',0
If not can you try to start the agent and then supply the relevant entries from the Windows event viewer and the SQL Error Log and SQL Agent Error Log.
The "Agent XPs disabled" is usually a symptom rather than a cause - it's what you see when SQL Server Agent isn't running. The SQL Agent Error log is the place to start. If it's not being written to at all then it's probably because the SQL Server Agent service account doesn't have NTFS permissions on the folder that the log file is in.
Another reason for SQL Server Agent issues is if you are running SQL Express. SQL Express doesn't support SQL Agent.
But, as John Mitchell suggests, check the logs. Also, check the service to make sure it is running as an account that is currently enabled and the password is correct. I've seen (in very rare cases) where the service was set to start as the user who installed the instance. This was due to a mistake that the user made while installing the instance but it worked at first... until he reset his password. Then after a reboot, the SQL Agent failed to start.
The above is all just my opinion on what you should do.
As with all advice you find on a random internet forum - you shouldn't blindly follow it. Always test on a test server to see if there is negative side effects before making changes to live!
I recommend you NEVER run "random code" you found online on any system you care about UNLESS you understand and can verify the code OR you don't care if the code trashes your system.
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