My team foundation server is running its databases locally and the person who originally installed the system decided to just use LocalSystem as the service account for SQL Server instead of actually planning the accounts out.

I am trying to create a backup plan (via the TFS power tools Backup Plan extension in the TFS admin console) and it is requiring a domain account in order to complete the plan.

My plan is to quiesce tfs, go into SQL Server Configuration Manager, change the service accounts to a plain 'no rights other than domain user' account, start the mssql services and thne unquiesce tfs.

Are there any problems or concerns I should be aware of before doing this? Will simply changing the LocalSystem account to a domain account cause any problems?

  • Using SQL Server Configuration Manager is the only supported way to change the account used by SQL Server; so I'd say your plan is ok. If you do find an issue, you can always modify the service back to LocalSystem.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:18
  • I just want to make sure that there isn't something internal (like a sid or something) that will end up screwing me.
    – Mike Cheel
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:19
  • Typically, SQL Server operates independently of the account used to start the service. For instance, the service needs no special access to any databases, or anything else in the default configuration. In certain circumstances (such as linked-servers) the account should be given the ability to create SPNs for itself, but I don't think that applies to TFS.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:23
  • Thanks for you input Max. I figured as much but since I am not a dba I thought I would double check.
    – Mike Cheel
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:33
  • No problem. As a DBA, I feel compelled to mention that you should ensure you have a backup that is verified to work prior to making changes to any production-facing SQL Server.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


So I finally got the outage to do this yesterday evening and to summarize:

  1. I opened an admin prompt, changed to the 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Tools' directory on the application tier and quiesced TFS (TfsServiceControl.exe quiesce)
  2. Changed all of the databases from LocalSystem to my service (domain) accounts from inside sql server configuration manager.
  3. Rebooted (I had windows update nagging me for a reboot)
  4. Ensured all of the sql services started
  5. Unquiesced TFS (TfsServiceControl.exe unquiesce)

The only problem I had is somehow inheritance on the Users folder where profiles are stored had some issue that prevented my service account from working. Once I fixed that everything worked just fine. I'm not sure if the profile issue was related to the account change.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.