Around ten minutes to seven yesterday AM, I received an email from a customer stating that my Access database wasn't working. This is a reporting tool I developed that connects to their web-based custom program which uses SQL Server 2000.

One user in particular needed a report for an early-morning session. I knew that user had been having issues with their PC, so I asked for a reboot to see if that would take care of it - it did not. I also asked for a reboot of the server - no change. Then I learned that the web-based app would not allow anybody to log in. Hmm.

Twenty minutes later, I arrived to find that the SQL Server service was stopped. That would certainly explain the what, but not the how or why. . .

SQL Server is usually set up with a dedicated domain user account to actually start the service. The password for that account resides in two places - the first place, the domain user account profile, had been changed. The second place -

Start ~ Settings ~ Control Panel ~ Administrative Tools ~ Services

. . . right-click on MSSQLSERVER, click Properties ~ Log On - still had the old password, and that is why the server did not start. Once the new password was entered there, we started SQL Server and everything was back to normal.

EDIT on Sept 7th

In retrospect, the above comment - "the reason that the server would not start" - raised a new question, which is: A SQL Server is usually online 24/7, and the startup account is only utilized when the server is rebooted. But no human rebooted the server.Hmmm. Turns out the Windows Update found a 'critical update that required an automatic reboot of the server' and when that happened, the altered startup credentials (changed before the reboot) no longer worked.