Start SQL Server Instance in Single User Mode

To start SQL Server instance in Single User Mode, follow this simple procedure:

1. Stop all SQL Server related services (some SQL services such as SQL Agent will use up your only connection in single-user mode).

2. Start the SQL service with the -m parameter.
In SQL Server Configuration Manager, click SQL Server Services. In the right pane, right-click SQL Server (), and then click Properties. On the Startup Parameters tab, add -m; parameter (do not add a space between the -m; and the rest of the command line).

Or from CMD with 'Run as administrator' input:


This will put the SQL into Single User Mode, and SQL Server will only accept one connection.

If you get the error message:

Login failed for user 'domain\username'. Reason: Server is in single user mode. Only one administrator can connect at this time.

It means that there is something using your single connection. You need to find the service or connection that uses up the only connection and stop it before you can log in. Check SQL Agent, SQL Reporting Services, SQL Analysis Services...

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4 comments to Start SQL Server Instance in Single User Mode

  • saritha

    I just want to know the reason that why we have to set instance in single user mode.

    • Peter

      For example, if you need to recover a damaged master database or other system database you need to start an instance of SQL Server in single-user mode.

  • luke

    How do I find out what is using the single connection? This is really very irritating; I am helplessly sitting the whole day for this...... Pls reply :(

    • Mark

      Open SQL Server Configuration Manager, and under SQL Server Services see if SQL Agent, SQL Reporting Services, SQL Analysis Services or any other service is started that may be using the single connection.

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