How To Access A SQL Server 2008 Databases WITHOUT SA (SysAdmin) Credentials

Challenge : How to make a backup of a SQL 2008 database without knowing any working credentials.

Log on to the Windows 2008 R2 server running SQL Server 2008 as a domain admin.

Launch SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio)

Issue the windows credentials have no permissions and there were no obvious groups in AD (Active Directory) which would have access.

So…back to basics…..

PS tools to the rescue

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Download PS Tools https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/

Store in c:\temp\

The tool to use is PSexec

Launch command prompt

Browse to c:\temp

Type : psexec -i -s SSMS.exe

This will launch SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) as system. By luck would have it, window auth under “system” has full SA rights in SQL 2008.

I can then connect to all databases and compete the backups. I can then also check the security permissions for users