Can Admin Rename SA Account in SQL Server? – Interview Question of the Week #256

Question: Can Admin Rename SA Account in SQL Server?

Answer: Yes, of course. The syntax for to rename SA account is very simple:

Can Admin Rename SA Account in SQL Server? - Interview Question of the Week #256 admin-rename-800x222

Can Admin Rename SA Account in SQL Server?

ALTER LOGIN sa WITH NAME = [SQLAuthority]

Every single time when I ask this question in the interview the common answer I receive is that it is not possible to rename the SA account as that represents the system admin account.

Some candidates also have provided additional information that we can disable/enable SA account but we can’t rename them. It is incorrect, we can always rename any login name in SQL Server with the command displayed in this blog post.

If you want to disable SA account the syntax is also very simple.

  • To disable the ‘sa’ login:
    ALTER LOGIN sa DISABLE
  • To re-enable the ‘sa’ login:
    ALTER LOGIN sa ENABLE

Either you rename the sa command or disable them but it is never a good idea to use that in your production system. I often see in the organizations that people use this login in-build their application’s connection string as well as give that to log in for all the DBAs and Developers.

In general, everyone who has access to the SQL Server should have their own personalized login and SA should not be available for anyone to use it. Additionally, external hackers and intruders often depend on the SA login to be available on the server.

If you are using MySQL/MariaDB, here is the command to disable the root login which is similar to sa in the SQL Server.

RENAME USER root TO new_user;

Let me know if you find this blog post useful. Do you use SA account to login to your SQL Server? Is there a valid reason for it? Please share your feedback in the comments section.

Here are a few related blog posts:

SQL SERVER – Reset SA Password – SQL in Sixty Seconds #066

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

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