FIX: SMK initialization fails on one node of a SQL Server 2012, 2014, or 2016 failover cluster

Applies to: SQL Server 2012 DeveloperSQL Server 2012 EnterpriseSQL Server 2012 Standard


When you use a SQL Server failover cluster, you may receive the following error message in the SQL Server error log after you start SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 or 2016:

Service Master Key could not be decrypted using one of its encryptions. See sys.key_encryptions for details.

Additionally, you receive the following error message when you create a certificate or try to open an existing database service master key (SMK):

Msg 15581, Level 16, State 7 Please create a master key in the database or open the master key in the session before performing this operation.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.