Article ID: 259710 - View products that this article applies to.
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Changing the system administrator (sa) password from a blank to any other value, for security purposes, on a Microsoft Windows 95-based computer or a Microsoft Windows 98-based computer, might prevent the SQL Server Agent from starting. The SQLAgent.out file found in the C:\Mssql7\Log directory appears as follows:
If you change the sa password back to a blank, the SQL Server Agent works again. This problem occurs on the golden, SP1 and SP2 release of both the Desktop Edition and the Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE).
Sqlagent.out ------------------- 4/7/00 1:36:14 AM - ?  SQLServerAgent starting under Windows 9x service control 4/7/00 1:36:16 AM - !  SQLServer Error: 18456, Login failed for user 'sa'. [SQLSTATE 28000] 4/7/00 1:36:16 AM - !  Unable to connect to server; SQLServerAgent cannot start 4/7/00 1:36:16 AM - ?  SQLServerAgent terminated (normally)
The information needed for SQL Server Agent to start is obtained from the registry; however, the information does not exist in the registry until after the sa password is changed by the SQL Server Enterprise Manager (SEM). This method is used on Microsoft Windows 9x computers, because they do not support trusted-connections, which is the default for Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 on both Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based computers and Microsoft Windows 2000-based computers.
To work around this problem: