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Is there any way in which I can see what permissions are being used to determine a users access to a given object? I'm able to see which permissions have been granted to various roles and users within a database, but am having problems with these reports not lining up with what is actually happening.

For example, the SQL below will return my effective permissions on a given object:

SELECT * FROM fn_my_permissions('dbo.SomeTable', 'OBJECT') 
ORDER BY subentity_name, permission_name ; 

Which returns:

entity_name         subentity_name permission_name
------------------- -------------- ---------------
dbo.SomeTable                      INSERT
dbo.SomeTable                      SELECT
dbo.SomeTable                      UPDATE

What would be very useful is something along the lines of below, which explains where each line item is coming from:

entity_name         subentity_name permission_name reason
------------------- -------------- --------------- ----------------
dbo.SomeTable                      INSERT          dbowner
dbo.SomeTable                      SELECT          role: datareader
dbo.SomeTable                      UPDATE          role: sysadmin

Note, there is a similar question on the site, however the accepted answer is a query that returns the permissions that are set, not where said permissions are coming from.

Edit: The reason for asking was that there were 'shadows' of former permissions as seen and explained here. However if I had access to something like the above, it would have shown the SQL Server thought I was a member of a given role and thus pointed me in the right direction...

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Have a look at sys.user_token ( and sys.login_token ( They tell you which roles/logins/users SQL Server is involving when figuring out the permissions for the current user.

Then you can use sys.database_permissions ( and sys.server_permissions ( to get the permissions associated with each token. (They even tell you who granted the permission.)

Finally, sys.database_principals ( and sys.server_principals ( can be used to translate the principal_id into a name.

I took a stab at combining the system views above. It might not be perfect, but it should get you started:

SELECT  token_name,
        T.type token_type,
        T.is_login_token, user_name,
        UDP.type_desc user_type_desc,
        --UDP.authentication_type_desc, login_name,
        SP.type_desc login_type,
        QUOTENAME(OBJECT_SCHEMA_NAME(O.object_id))+'.'+QUOTENAME( object_name,
        O.type_desc object_type_desc, column_name
  FROM (SELECT 0 is_login_token,* FROM sys.user_token 
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 1 is_login_token,* FROM sys.login_token
       )AS T
  LEFT JOIN sys.database_principals AS UDP
    ON T.principal_id = UDP.principal_id
   AND T.is_login_token = 0
  LEFT JOIN sys.server_principals AS SP
    ON (UDP.sid = SP.sid AND T.is_login_token = 0)
    OR (T.principal_id = SP.principal_id AND T.is_login_token = 1)
  LEFT JOIN sys.database_permissions AS DP
    ON (DP.grantee_principal_id = UDP.principal_id
        AND T.is_login_token = 0)
    OR (DP.grantee_principal_id = SP.principal_id
        AND T.is_login_token = 1)
  LEFT JOIN sys.all_objects AS O
    ON DP.major_id = O.object_id
  LEFT JOIN sys.all_columns AS C
    ON DP.major_id = C.object_id
   AND DP.minor_id = C.column_id;
share|improve this answer
Ah, I've not come across the sys._token tables. They look quite handy. I guess they can be used, along with the 'constants' such as the fixed roles and the db owner to create an appropriate query. (I'd upvote you, but I dont have enough rep...) – BJury Nov 14 '13 at 15:14
You could accept the answer instead of upvoting it. You have enough rep for that ;) – Sebastian Meine Nov 14 '13 at 17:43
UDP.authentication_type_desc is not available in sql 2008 or 2008R2 for sys.database_principals. Also, it should be UDP.is_fixed_role. – Kin Nov 14 '13 at 19:46
@Kin, thanks for noting. I commented out the 2012 only columns. – Sebastian Meine Nov 14 '13 at 20:31
@SebastianMeine Good work though. +1 from me. – Kin Nov 14 '13 at 20:33

Not sure if this should be an answer or a comment. But I've used the script here before for this type of question -

The last query Jamie uses shows the permission and if it is through a role, the role is specified. If it isn't, there is no role specified. This was written for SQL Server 2005, I've used it on SQL Server 2008 without issues.

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Blog down,… has the code – Simon D Aug 28 '15 at 6:28

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