SQL Agent will not start unless service account is local admin

  • Short version: SQL Agent will not start unless the domain service account is runs under is part of the local admins group on the server. SQL Server, running under same account, starts and runs fine.

    Extended version:

    This is a brand new installation of SQL 2014, on a Windows 2019 Datacenter VM. The installation popped up and error message at the end with: "Attempted to perform an unauthorized operation."

    Ignoring that error and completing the installation, SQL agent would not start, even though SQL Server runs just fine, both using the same domain account, entered during the installation. SQL Agent, upon startup, would give me an "Access denied" error, with no more useful information in the message or the event logs. I reinstall SQL a couple of times, thinking there was something corrupt, as I have not run into this before. I also tried, on a previous installation, to change the agent account to a built-in account and back to the domain account using SQL Config Manager, but that did not help either. I have been running the install As Administrator after the first failed install, even though I have never had to do this in the past.

    Finally, with the latest install, when that error showed up I added the domain account to the local admins group and clicked Retry. The installation completed successfully and SQL Agent was running.

    Now, if I remove the service account from the local Admins group SQL agent will not start. I have never seen this behavior before and the internet has not been much help with info for this situation. I know that SQL service accounts do not have to be in the Admins group on a server, so I can't figure out why this is happening here.

    Anyone have any ideas on this?



    Learning something new on every visit to SSC. Hoping to pass it on to someone else.

  • Thanks for posting your issue and hopefully someone will answer soon.

    This is an automated bump to increase visibility of your question.

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