How to Enable XP_CMDSHELL & Disable XP_CMDSHELL

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The xp_cmdshell option is a server configuration option that enables system administrators to control whether the extended stored procedure can be executed on a system. The sp_configure system stored procedure is used to configure options in SQL Server. In this article, we will see how to enable and disable the using the sp_configure system stored procedure.

What is XP_CMDSHELL?

The extended stored procedure executes an operating-system command. This functionality is similar to running the EXEC master command from a query window. When you execute this extended stored procedure, SQL Server runs the operating-system command that you specify as a parameter.

By default, the xp_cmdshell option is disabled. We can enable the execution using sp_configure as follows:

EXEC sp_configure ‘show advanced options, 1

GO

— To update the currently configured value for advanced options.

RECONFIGURE

go

— To enable the feature.

EXEC sp_configure ‘xp_cmdshell’, 1 — Enabled

GO

— To update the currently configured value for this feature.

RECONFIGURE

GO

When we enable the option, anyone who has access to SQL Server can execute system commands by running the extended stored procedure.

So, it is very important to restrict access to only those users who require it. We can do this by using roles such as db_owner and db_securityadmin or by explicitly granting permissions to users.

Disable XP_CMDSHELL:

We can disable the execution of xp_cmdshell using sp_configure as follows:

EXEC sp_configure ‘show advanced options, 1

GO

— To update the currently configured value for advanced options.

RECONFIGURE

go

— To enable the feature.

EXEC sp_configure ‘xp_cmdshell’, 0 — Disabled

GO

— To update the currently configured value for this feature.

RECONFIGURE

GO

When we disable the option, any existing operating system commands that are running in continue to run until they finish. However, no new operating system commands can be started.

When you disable the option, existing operating system commands that are running in continue to run until they finish. However, no new operating system commands can be started.

You can also use the following command to disable the execution of:

EXEC sp_xp_cmdshell_proxy_account ‘disable’

This will disable the execution of and also remove the proxy account information.

So these are the ways in which we can enable and disable in SQL Server.

FAQs:

1. How can I enable xp_cmdshell?

Ans: We can enable the execution of  using sp_configure as follows:

EXEC sp_configure ‘show advanced options, 1

GO

— To update the currently configured value for advanced options.

RECONFIGURE

go

— To enable the feature.

EXEC sp_configure ‘xp_cmdshell’, 1 — Enabled

GO

— To update the currently configured value for this feature.

RECONFIGURE

GO

2. How can I disable xp_cmdshell?

Ans: We can disable the execution of using sp_configure as follows:

EXEC sp_configure ‘show advanced options, 1

GO

— To update the currently configured value for advanced options.

RECONFIGURE

go

— To enable the feature.

EXEC sp_configure ‘xp_cmdshell’, 0 — Disabled

GO

— To update the currently configured value for this feature.

RECONFIGURE

GO

3. What is XP_CMDSHELL?

Ans: The extended stored procedure executes an operating-system command. This functionality is similar to running the EXEC master. command from a query window. When you execute this extended stored procedure, SQL Server runs the operating-system command that you specify as a parameter.

4. What are the risks of enabling xp_cmdshell?

Ans: By default, the option is disabled. We can enable the execution of using sp_configure as follows:

EXEC sp_configure ‘show advanced options’, 1

GO

— To update the currently configured value for advanced options.

RECONFIGURE

go

— To enable the feature.

EXEC sp_configure ‘xp_cmdshell’, 1 — Enabled

GO

Conclusion:

In this article, we have seen how to enable and disable the option in SQL Server. We have also discussed the risks involved in enabling. So it is very important to restrict access to only those users who require it.

XP_CMDSHELL is a powerful extended stored procedure that can be used to run operating system commands from within SQL Server. However, it should be used with caution as it can pose a security risk if not used properly.

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