Event ID: 7000 The SQL Server...service failed to start due to the following error: Access is denied.

Yesterday I worked through a new install of SQLServer 2012 with SP1 on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard on a VMware virtual machine.  During the install everything went smoothly, however once complete I noticed the services were stopped and there were errors in the OS system log:

Log Name:      System
Source:        Service Control Manager
Date:          4/11/2013 12:50:41 PM
Event ID:      7000
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ...
The SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) service failed to start due to the following error: 
Access is denied.

I turned to my best friend, in situations like this: www.google.com.  Unfortunately this didn't get me very far; it took a bit more digging.  I gathered more errors from the Application log, the System log, and the bootstrap summary (%programfiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\110\Setup Bootstrap\Log\Summary.txt): 
  • Attempted to perform an unauthorized operation
  • error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server
I also notice that if I attempted to change the "log on as" user in SQL server Configuration Manager again I received an "access is denied" error.  This occurred even if I attempted to use a system user.

It was googling more detailed error messages from the bootstrap summary log that lead me to the solution.  

Apparently, when you build Windows Server 2012 on VMware we need to disable the HotAdd/HotPlug capability.  Who knew?

This was a difficult one to track down, but thanks to SQL Server Central forumsMSDN forums and the community I now have a new item on my build checklist.

One of the things that really helped quickly get through multiple install attempts was using an install config file.  This allowed me to run through the install over and over without having to click through the install each time.  There's a really good article on how to setup an unattended install here: SQL Server 2008 R2 – Unattended Silent Install (Works the same in 2012).

Happy Installs!


  1. Jon, you are a lifesaver. This problem had me stumped and about to rebiuld the cluster. A couple of clicks in VMWare and everyone is happy.

  2. Thank you so much for the info. It made me look like a hero this morning!

  3. This article works for all other services running with service account, not only for MSSQL Service.

  4. Thanks Jon, saved another life. Good thing is that now google can take us to your page for the solution.

  5. Neat, thought my weekend was going to be ruined!! Thanks!

    I'm running 2008r2 and can only assume updates caused this problem as was working for months prior to this.

  6. This is awesome, thanks for what you do.

  7. I can't even believe this worked! My issue was a bit different because our servers worked for years until an unplanned power outage. After the outage, two servers (Windows/SQL 2008 R2 & Win2012/SQL2014) gave me the access denied error. We tested your solution, still doubtful, and boom, both servers came up. Magic! Thank you!