Enabling "Super Admin" on Windows 10

Aaron Bertrand

Published On: September 1, 2015

Categories: System Configuration, SQL Sentry, Monitoring 3

Recently, I tried installing SQL Sentry Power Suite on a brand new VM christened with the RTM version of Windows 10. Unfortunately, they've changed something about what Administrator really means. The active account is a local administrator of my VM (which is not connected to a domain), and the service account validation succeeds:


When I click Install, UAC seems happy to let me proceed:


Unfortunately, in my case, it later gets hung up on this error message:

Service SQL Sentry Monitoring Service could not be installed. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to install system services.

I learned that Windows 10 (and maybe Windows 8/8.1, I didn't use those long enough to come across this) has a concept of a "super admin" - you enable it and set the password at the command line:

net user Administrator /active:yes
net user Administrator $omeCr@zyPa$$w0rd

Make sure to also add Administrator to the sysadmin role (if you want to select the SQL Sentry database to use using Windows Authentication), and then switch user, and install SQL Sentry from that user account (and set the service to run as that account).

I tried reproducing the problem on another Windows 10 machine, but couldn't, so there is probably some other factor that comes into play (maybe it's not an issue with upgrades from earlier versions of Windows, or the Windows Insider builds). It also seems like it is possible to install the service as a "regular" administrator after the above command line options have been run, but I only tested it on this same machine after uninstalling SQL Sentry, so not sure if that's because of the change or because the service had already been installed successfully once.

We're trying to coerce a reliable repro in the lab, and will address the issue appropriately once we understand the factors that lead to the problem.

Hopefully this is a rare occurrence, but if you come across this issue, please try the workaround. And note that this workaround is likely to pan out for similar issues installing any service.

Aaron (@AaronBertrand) is a Data Platform MVP with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. He is editor-in-chief of the performance-related blog, SQLPerformance.com. Aaron's blog focuses on T-SQL bad habits and best practices, as well as coverage of updates and new features in Plan Explorer, SentryOne, and SQL Server.


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