How to Enable XP_CMDSHELL & Disable XP_CMDSHELL using SP_CONFIGURE in SQL Server

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The xp_cmdshell option is a server configuration option that enables system administrators to control whether the xp_cmdshell 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 xp_cmdshell using the sp_configure system stored procedure.

What is XP_CMDSHELL?

The xp_cmdshell extended stored procedure executes an operating-system command. This functionality is similar to running the EXEC master..xp_cmdshell 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 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’, 1 — Enabled

GO

— To update the currently configured value for this feature.

RECONFIGURE

GO

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

When you disable the xp_cmdshell option, existing operating system commands that are running in xp_cmdshell 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 xp_cmdshell:

EXEC sp_xp_cmdshell_proxy_account ‘disable’

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

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

FAQs:

1. How can I enable xp_cmdshell?

Ans: We can enable 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’, 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 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

3. What is XP_CMDSHELL?

Ans: The xp_cmdshell extended stored procedure executes an operating-system command. This functionality is similar to running the EXEC master..xp_cmdshell 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 xp_cmdshell option is disabled. We can enable 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’, 1 — Enabled

GO

Conclusion:

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