SQL Server Setup Password Validation Failure


During a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (standard or express) upgrade from a previous version or while updating SQL Server to a newer service pack (SP), you may receive the following error:


Error ID: 15116

SQL Server Setup has encountered the following problem: [Microsoft][SQL Native Client][SQL Server]Password validation failed. The password does not meet Windows policy requirements because it is too short.. To continue, correct the problem, and then run SQL Server Setup again.


Variations may appear depending on your configuration, including:

  • The password does not meet Windows policy requirements because it is too long.
  • The password does not meet Windows policy requirements because it is not complex enough.
  • The password does not meet the requirements of the password filter DLL.

This will appear during the install process, but you may also have failed installs through Windows Update and not realize that this is the cause. The origin of the error is that your Domain or computer has a password policy set that a password that is hardcoded into a SQL script used during the upgrade fails to meet. Yes, it's an issue that Microsoft should have forseen. Yes, it's also an issue that Microsoft should have created a KB article for. Yes, The Grim Admin will fill in the holes...

The hardcoded password is "Yukon90_" and most often fails due to being too short. To complete the upgrade successfully, you have a couple options. The easiest solution is to temporarily change your password policy so that the hardcoded password meets the requirements and apply it to the server, then retry the installation. Alternatively, you can change the password in the upgrade script so it meets your current password requirements by performing the following steps.

  1. Run the SQL Server installer, accept the licensing terms, install/verify prerequisites, and let it scan your configuration so that you eventually end up at the "Welcome to the Microsoft SQL Server Installation Wizard" screen.
  2. At this point, navigate to the folder where SQL is currently installed and open .\Upgrade\sqlagent90_msdb_upgrade.sql in a text editor.
    • e.g., C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Upgrade\sqlagent90_msdb_upgrade.sql
  3. Find the line encryption by password = 'Yukon90_' and change the password so it meets your requirements. This password may appear a couple times in the script so search for it more than once.
    • Side note: If you run into this error during an install rather than an upgrade, you can do a similar edit to the .\Install\instmsdb.sql script (the offending password appears twice in this script).
  4. After saving the upgrade script, continue on with the install, which should now finish without the permission error.

Tag: microsoft microsoft sql server what were they thinking

Share It!

A couple notes on the article-

I couldn't find either of those scripts during an installation of SQL Server 2005 Standard. I kept getting that error during the install.

Strangely, this only happened sometimes. I had just uninstalled enterprise edition, which had been installed by mistake. The uninstall didn't seem complete the first few times (Microsoft SQL Server 2005 was still showing in the add/remove programs list) even though no instances were installed anymore.

After a couple failed uninstall/reinstall attempts where I got the error described in the article, the uninstall completely removed everything. After that, the error no longer appeared.

This doesn't really explain a whole lot, but might help someone who has the same problem.


Dude! I luv you! I worked on this problem for almost a week! I kept changing my sa password and thought I was going nuts. I tried a dozen other solutions on other sites and they didn't work. The Grim Admin's solution worked the first time!

A DoD Software Engineer
Thanks for the.. um... love ;) I try not to repost solutions that are easily found on the Internet and focus on weird things I've come across that took some time for me to solve. It frustrates me so much when I'm searching for a fix for something and 99% of the suggestions range from not solving the issue to making no sense whatsoever.

Jeff: I'm not sure if this is why you couldn't find those two scripts, but those files get created by the installer after it is run and get deleted as part of the cleanup when it finishes. That's why I recommended editing them when you reach the Welcome screen. I appreciate the notes on how you got it to work, though. Hopefully it'll help someone else.

As a side note, now that I think back on this, 'sqlagent90_msdb_upgrade.sql' may actually have the password in there twice. I'd just search for Yukon or something similar to try and find all instances.
Edited on Saturday, October 16 2010 @ 06:25 AM EDT by Seker
Thanks Seker, this helped me today. I was upgrading the SQL server 2000 to 2005 and got this error. I had the error on my screen and found this post. So I just had to edit the script file for a better password. It was used for encryption and for decryption. I changed the first one and setup went through but got an error while decrypting so I figured the password must be there twice and it was! I fixed second instance of password and the setup worked fine after that.
Thanks a lot for the work-around.

Awesome Post. Thanks for the very helpful information. I've been pulling my hair out for hours thinking the problem related to the SA password. Thanks again.
Worked for me.

However the file 'sqlagent90_msdb_upgrade.sql' was not present untill the installation wizard got to the 'SLQ Server Databases Services' part in the 'Setup progress - The selected components are being configured'.
When I initially ran into this error I change the password but the wizard would not accept the change for some reason, it kept on returning the same error. I cancelled out and reran the upgrade. This failed as the rollback of the faile dupgrade did not completely restore everything. Luckeliy this system is a VM and I took a snapshot before attempting anything.
So, rollback and try again.
When I got to the Welcome screen I could not find the 'sqlagent90_msdb_upgrade.sql' as described above. Kept searching for it each time I went to the next dialogue window. Only when the actual upgrade was taking place it appeared. Quickly changed the password and a the upgrade worked.

thank you
This is great! It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see.Good post with useful tips and ideas. VCP550D DUMPS