Msg 18456, Level 14, State 1, Server <server name>, Line 1
Login failed for user '<user name>'

Nothing exiting so far, this is done on purpose, to provide users with as little information as possible. So, the "State"  wil allways be shown as "1".  This is misleading information. The true reason for the login failure can be found on the SQL server error logs, where a simular log exists, but with a little more information in it. It will look something like:

2009-10-15 09:02:00.34 Logon     Error: 18456, Severity: 14, State: 8.2009-10-15 09:02:00.34 Logon     Login failed for user '<user name>'. [CLIENT: <ip address>]

Note that the "State" gives a lot more information than just the singel "1". Now for the real reason, Microsoft has provided a nice table of one of her sites. In the above example the state is 8, indicating that the password is wrong.


The key to the message is the 'State' which the server will accurately set to reflect the source of the problem.  In the example above, State 8 indicates that the authentication failed because the user provided an incorrect password.  The common error states and their descriptions are provided in the following table:

2 and 5Invalid userid
6Attempt to use a Windows login name with SQL Authentication
7Login disabled and password mismatch
8Password mismatch
9Invalid password
11 and 12Valid login but server access failure
13SQL Server service paused
18Change password required

If there are other error states, this may be indicating an internal error. This can be in the SQL security, as well as in a corrupted Index or something like that. Solving that kind of issues may require some deeper debugging on the database itself. Most of the time, the information in the above tabel will be enough.

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Ben OostdamBen Oostdam has been working with Windows systems since 1993. Worked for several companies as a system administrator, and is currently a Senior Support Engineer for Qurius Managed Services in the Netherlands specialized in System Center Solutions.

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