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How to Reset SQL Server 2012 Password After Forgotten SA Login

How to recover lost SA password on a SQL Server 2012 Express instance? If you've forgotten the login password for SA account, you are probably in a panic. Fear not, for you can reset the password and once again have access to the powers of the SA account by using a SQL Server password recovery program.

SQL Server Password Changer could be used to reset forgotten SA password on SQL Server 2000, 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2014. This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to reset SQL Server 2012 password without having any sort of administrator rights to the SQL instance.

How to Reset SA Password on SQL Server 2012?

SQL Server account passwords are stored in Master Database (master.mdf). Before getting started, you need to shutdown your SQL Server instance via SQL Server Configuration Manager. So we can then access the master.mdf file and reset lost SQL Server 2012 password offline.

  1. Click here to download and install the SQL Server Password Changer program on your computer.
  2. Click the Open File button. Select the SQL Server 2012 master database file (master.mdf). Typically it is located in the folder: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA.

    Select the SQL Server master database file

  3. The program will automatically decrypt the master database file and display all user accounts in your SQL Server. Select the SA account, click the Change Password button. Type a new password and click OK.

    SQL Server Password Recovery

  4. The program will replace the existing password with your new password, and also unlock your SA account if it's already locked out or disabled. Now start your SQL Server instance again and you can then log into the SA account using your new password.

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