SQL Server SSPI Errors

SQL Server SSPI Errors

Over the years, I’ve frequently had users complain to me about SQL Server producing variants on the following error:

SSPI Handshake failed / Cannot Generate SSPI Context

Now, I’m not going to go into depth about the various causes of this error (largely because it’s not really my area and there are far more qualified people who are able to help) , but I do want to mention one thing.

The most common occurrence of this error has been down to passwords expiring / getting locked out. This can be Service Accounts or User Accounts. SQL Server records the error in the errorlog, together with the IP address from where the connection was attempted. Track down user at that address and (if it’s a Service Account) check to see if it’s still working (it may be locked out) or if it’s a User, check to see if their Password has just expired. It’s quite common for users to ignore the warnings from Windows and then complain because SQL Server isn’t working properly when they cannot login.

If this isn’t the case, then apologies, you’re back to searching for more in-depth Troubleshooting. There are some pretty good resources out there, including:

How to troubleshoot the “Cannot generate SSPI context” error message


My learnings from this experience

In the past, I have spent considerable time searching for a Technical solution involving Authentication, and some “interesting” discussions with AD Administrators only to find that the problem “went away” shortly afterwards. Users don’t often tell you that it was fixed once they changed their Password and logged out / in again.

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