2024-04-12

Managing SQL Server Access: Running SSMS with Different Credentials

sql server 2008

SQL Server relies on Windows Authentication to identify users. SSMS simply inherits the credentials you're currently logged into Windows with.

Here are two common approaches to connect to SSMS using a different Windows account:

  1. Run SSMS as a Different User:

    • Right-click the SSMS icon in your Start Menu.
    • Hold the Shift key and then click "Run as different user".
    • Enter the credentials for the desired Windows account with access to SQL Server.
  2. Use SQL Server Authentication (Not Recommended):

    • This method is less secure and requires administrative privileges.
    • You would create a new SQL Server login with a username and password separate from Windows accounts.
    • Then, when connecting to SSMS, choose "SQL Server Authentication" and provide the SQL Server login credentials.

Important points to consider:

  • Using a separate SQL Server login grants access to the database server itself, bypassing Windows security controls. It's generally recommended to avoid this method unless absolutely necessary due to security concerns.
  • For managing multiple servers or logins with different permissions, creating additional Windows user accounts with specific SQL Server access might be a more secure approach.


However, here's an example using the command prompt that achieves a similar outcome:

runas /netonly /user:domain\username "ssms.exe"

Explanation:

  • runas: This command allows running a program with a different user account.
  • /netonly: This switch specifies that the credentials are only used for accessing network resources (the SQL Server).
  • /user:domain\username: This part defines the username in the format "domain\username" for the account you want to use.
  • "ssms.exe": This is the actual program file for SQL Server Management Studio.

Important Note:

This method opens another instance of SSMS with the specified user's credentials. It doesn't directly change the user within the currently running SSMS instance.



  1. Domain Trust (For Users Across Domains):

    • If the SQL Server you need to connect to resides in a different domain than your current login, establishing a trust relationship between the domains can be a solution.
    • This allows your user account from one domain to be recognized and granted access on the other domain, enabling you to connect to SSMS using your existing credentials.
    • Important Note: Setting up domain trusts involves network administration and security considerations. Consult your network administrator for feasibility and implementation.
  2. Remote Desktop Connection (For Server Management):

    • If you need to manage the SQL Server directly (not just the database through SSMS), consider using Remote Desktop Connection (RDP).
    • This allows you to connect to the server's graphical interface and launch SSMS locally using the server's user accounts.
    • Important Note: Some organizations might have restrictions on installing tools like SSMS directly on the server or using RDP for administrative purposes. Check with your IT department for their policies.

sql sql-server-2008

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