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Database Engine Configuration - Account Provisioning


Applies To: SQL Server 2016 Preview

Use this page to set the SQL Server security mode, and to add Windows users or groups as administrators of the SQL Server Database Engine.

On previous versions of SQL Server, the BUILTIN\Administrators group was provisioned as a login in the Database Engine and members of the local Administrators group could login using their Administrator credentials. Using elevated permissions is not a best practice. In SQL Server 2016 the BUILTIN\Administrators group is not provisioned as a login. As a result, you should create a SQL Server login for each administrative user, and add that login to the sysadmin fixed server role during installation of a new instance of SQL Server 2016. You should also do this for Windows accounts that are used to run SQL Server agent jobs. These include replication agent jobs.

Security Mode - Select Windows Authentication or Mixed Mode Authentication for your installation.

Windows Principal Provisioning - In previous versions of SQL Server, the Windows Builtin\Administrator local group was placed into the SQL Server sysadmin server role, effectively granting Windows administrators access to the instance of SQL Server. In SQL Server 2016, the Builtin\Administrator group is not provisioned in the sysadmin server role. Instead, you should explicitly provision SQL Server administrators for new installations during Setup.


You must explicitly provision SQL Server administrators for new installations during Setup. Setup will not allow you to continue until you complete this step.

Specify SQL Server Administrators - You must specify at least one Windows principal for the instance of SQL Server. To add the account under which SQL Server Setup is running, click the Current User button. To add or remove accounts from the list of system administrators, click Add or Remove, and then edit the list of users, groups, or computers that will have administrator privileges for the instance of SQL Server.

When you are finished editing the list, click OK, then verify the list of administrators in the configuration dialog. When the list is complete, click Next.

If you select Mixed Mode Authentication, you must provide logon credentials for the builtin SQL Server system administrator (SA) account.

System_CAPS_security Security Note

Do not use a blank password. Use a strong password.

Windows Authentication Mode

When a user connects through a Windows user account, SQL Server validates the account name and password using the Windows principal token in the operating system. This is the default authentication mode, and is much more secure than Mixed Mode. Windows Authentication utilizes Kerberos security protocol, provides password policy enforcement in terms of complexity validation for strong passwords, provides support for account lockout, and supports password expiration.

System_CAPS_security Security Note

When possible, use Windows Authentication.


Do not use a blank password. Use a strong password. Never set a blank or weak sa password.

Mixed Mode (Windows Authentication or SQL Server Authentication)

Allows users to connect by using Windows Authentication or SQL Server Authentication. Users who connect through a Windows user account can use trusted connections that are validated by Windows.

If you must choose Mixed Mode Authentication and you have a requirement for using SQL logins to accommodate legacy applications, you must set strong passwords for all SQL Server accounts.


SQL Server Authentication is provided for backward compatibility only. When possible, use Windows Authentication.

Enter Password

Enter and confirm the system administrator (sa) login. Passwords are the first line of defense against intruders, so setting strong passwords is essential to the security of your system. Never set a blank or weak sa password.


SQL Server passwords can contain from 1 to 128 characters, including any combination of letters, symbols, and numbers. If you choose Mixed Mode authentication, you must enter a strong sa password before you can continue to the next page of the Installation Wizard.

Strong Password Guidelines

Strong passwords are not readily guessed by a person, and are not easily hacked using a computer program. Strong passwords cannot use prohibited conditions or terms, including:

  • A blank or NULL condition

  • "Password"

  • "Admin"

  • "Administrator"

  • "sa"

  • "sysadmin"

A strong password cannot be the following terms associated with the installation computer:

  • The name of the user currently logged onto the machine.

  • The computer name.

A strong password must be more than 8 characters in length and satisfy at least three of the following four criteria:

  • It must contain uppercase letters.

  • It must contain lowercase letters.

  • It must contain numbers.

  • It must contain non-alphanumeric characters; for example, #, %, or ^.

Passwords entered on this page must meet strong password policy requirements. If you have any automation that uses SQL Server Authentication, ensure that the password meets strong password policy requirements.

For more information about choosing Windows Authentication vs. SQL Server Authentication, see the topic Choose an Authentication Mode in SQL Server Books Online.

For more information about choosing an account to run the SQL Server Database Engine, see the topic Configure Windows Service Accounts and Permissions in SQL Server Books Online.

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