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.


This issue was first fixed in the following cumulative update for SQL Server:

Each new cumulative update for SQL Server contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included in the previous cumulative update. Check out the latest cumulative updates for SQL Server:

Note You can find information about the latest SQL Server builds from Where to find information about the latest SQL Server builds.


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

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