SQL SERVER – Fix: Error: 15138 – The database principal owns a schema in the database, and cannot be dropped

Last day I had excellent fun asking puzzle on SQL Server Login SQL SERVER – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – Database Properties – Number of Users. One of the user sent me email asking urgent question about how to resolve following error. Reader was trying to remove the login from database but every single time he was getting error and was not able to remove the user.

The database principal owns a schema in the database, and cannot be dropped. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 15138)

As per him it was very urgent and he was not able to solve the same. I totally understand his situation and here is the quick workaround to the issue. The reason for error is quite clear from the error message as there were schema associated with the user and that needs to be transferred to another user.

Workaround / Resolution / Fix:

Let us assume that user was trying to delete user which is named as ‘pinaladmin’ and it exists in the database ‘AdventureWorks’.

Now run following script with the context of the database where user belongs.

USE AdventureWorks;
SELECT s.name
FROM sys.schemas s
WHERE s.principal_id = USER_ID('pinaladmin');

In my query I get following two schema as a result.

SQL SERVER - Fix: Error: 15138 - The database principal owns a schema in the database, and cannot be dropped schemaslist

Now let us run following query where I will take my schema and and alter authorization on schema. In our case we have two schema so we will execute it two times.

ALTER AUTHORIZATION ON SCHEMA::db_denydatareader TO dbo;
ALTER AUTHORIZATION ON SCHEMA::db_denydatawriter TO dbo;

Now if you drop the database owner it will not throw any error.

Here is generic script for resolving the error:

SELECT s.name
FROM sys.schemas s
WHERE s.principal_id = USER_ID('YourUserID');

Now replace the result name in following script:

ALTER AUTHORIZATION ON SCHEMA::YourSchemaName TO dbo;

Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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