Unable to start SQL Server Agent

We are unable to start SQL Server Agent. It was giving the following error when we were trying to start it from the services console

The SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER) service on Local Computer started and then stopped.  Some services stop automatically if they have no work to do, for example, the Performance Logs and Alerts service.


When we try to change the service account for SQL Server Agent we get the below error,

The process terminated unexpectedly. [0x8007042b]


Tried to start SQL Server Agent from the command prompt using:




Unable to rename C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\LOG\SQLAGENT.OUT to C:\ProgramFiles\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\LOG\SQLAGENT.1 (reason: The system cannot find the path specified)

2007-08-24 10:10:31 - ! [241] Startup error: Unable to initialize error reporting system (reason: The system cannot find the path specified)

2007-08-24 10:10:31 - ? [098] SQLServerAgent terminated (normally)



Checked the value of key ErrorLogFile in the following registry hive:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\SQLServerAgent

ErrorLogFile key had the below value:

C:\ProgramFiles\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\LOG\SQLAGENT.out


However we did not had any such directory present on the machine. Also we did not had any SQLAgent log file.

Changed the value in the ErrorLogFile key to reflect the correct location of the log folder which was on a different drive.

After making the changes we were able to start the SQL Server Agent.



Abhishek Soni

Support Engineer, Microsoft SQL Server.

Reviewed By,

Mukesh Nanda,
TL, Microsoft SQL Server

Comments (16)
  1. Wayne Small says:

    I saw this problem, but fixed it by allowing the SQL service account modify rights on the folder in the suggested registry key.

  2. _ivan says:

    I have Win Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, I get same error when trying to start Agent from SQl Config.

    But when I try starting Agent from command line, I get just one line like so:

    2009-08-26 10:29:35 – ? [098] SQLServerAgent terminated (normally)

    The service account has all the rights. So I am not sure why it would not start. Windows Event log says, SQL Agent cannot connect to [Name of SQL Server instance].

  3. Mike B says:

    Thanks ..I struggled with this for hours so that I could install MS DPM…once I followed your steps I was home free!

  4. Kevin says:

    I am struggeling to set up SQL Server Agent.

    I ahve changed the registry but still it is giving same message.

    Can you suggest other alternative.

    <a href="http://www.ourbody.in">Plastic surgery</a>

  5. Saad Najeeb says:

    Need assistance in starting SQL SERVER Agent.

    i am facing below mentioned error

    SQL Server Scheduled Job 'Websense_ETL_Job__wslogdb70' (0xAE9EF75299D6814EAA9FBAC7AF6BCAC0) – Status: Failed – Invoked on: 2011-03-18 18:15:20 – Message: The job failed.  Unable to determine if the owner (sa) of job Websense_ETL_Job__wslogdb70 has server access.

  6. jammy says:


    i have win home xp sp3 and have installed sql server 2000 but when i go to query analyzer it is asking me to connect with small authentication,it as written sa in login and pwd is blank,it is not allowing me to move further pls help me with it,as i am not able to practice sql server..

  7. Sandesh says:

    Guys try with disabling VIA port from configuration settings… and try restarting services..



  8. Niels Grove-Rasmussen says:

    Thanks – just what I needed. Actually you just saved the day!

    I was testing SQL Server installation from command-line, and had not deleted alle files from last installation. When I deleted SQLAgent.out the SQL Server Agent started quickly and with no errors.

  9. Mike says:

    Thanks for this!

  10. Musa says:

    thanx a billion… after trying so many articles yours actually solved my problem

  11. Neeraj Aggarwal says:

    Gr8 this solves my problem after trying so many solutions for an hour

  12. Srinivass Taraka says:

    Excellent it worked.  Thanks for the information.  

  13. Jamie says:

    Using your information above, I can see that in my case, given the multiple instances on my server, that the SQLAgent.OUT being accessed belongs to a different instance.   I've been searching the registry without any luck so far to find out where the registry reference originates that maybe pointing incorrectly.  In this case, the instance for the agent is trying to point to the SQLAgent.OUT owned by the default instance.  It cannot get access (rightfully so).

  14. ankit soni says:

    i am unable to connect sql database from other computer

  15. RJ says:

    Wow this is confusing i hope you post actual screenshot of what you are saying,
    Because there are instances that the location you are saying can be located on other location.
    I hope you can provide more user friendly explanation

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