Manage Authentication in Database Engine PowerShell

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server yesAzure SQL Database yesAzure SQL Data Warehouse yesParallel Data Warehouse

By default, the SQL Server PowerShell components use Windows Authentication when connecting to an instance of the Database Engine. You can use SQL Server Authentication by either defining a PowerShell virtual drive, or by specifying the -Username and -Password parameters for Invoke-Sqlcmd.


There are two SQL Server PowerShell modules; SqlServer and SQLPS. The SQLPS module is included with the SQL Server installation (for backwards compatibility), but is no longer being updated. The most up-to-date PowerShell module is the SqlServer module. The SqlServer module contains updated versions of the cmdlets in SQLPS, and also includes new cmdlets to support the latest SQL features.
Previous versions of the SqlServer module were included with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), but only with the 16.x versions of SSMS. To use PowerShell with SSMS 17.0 and later, the SqlServer module must be installed from the PowerShell Gallery. To install the SqlServer module, see Install SQL Server PowerShell.


All actions you can perform in an instance of the Database Engine are controlled by the permissions granted to the authentication credentials used to connect to the instance. By default, the SQL Server provider and cmdlets use the Windows account under which it is running to make a Windows Authentication connection to the Database Engine.

To make a SQL Server Authentication connection you must supply a SQL Server Authentication login ID and password. When using the SQL Server provider, you must associate the SQL Server login credentials with a virtual drive, and then use the change directory command (cd) to connect to that drive. In Windows PowerShell, security credentials can only be associated with virtual drives.

SQL Server Authentication Using a Virtual Drive

To create a virtual drive associated with a SQL Server Authentication login

  1. Create a function that:

    1. Has parameters for the name to give the virtual drive, the login ID, and the provider path to associate with the virtual drive.

    2. Uses read-host to prompt the user for the password.

    3. Uses new-object to create a credentials object.

    4. Uses new-psdrive to create a virtual drive with the supplied credentials.

  2. Invoke the function to create a virtual drive with the supplied credentials.

Example (Virtual Drive)

This example creates a function named sqldrive that you can use to create a virtual drive that is associated with the specified SQL Server Authentication login and instance.

The sqldrive function prompts you to enter the password for your login, masking the password as you type it in. Then, whenever you use the change directory command (cd) to connect to a path by using the virtual drive name, all operations are performed by using the SQL Server Authentication login credentials that you supplied when you created the drive.

## Create a function that specifies the login and prompts for the password.  
function sqldrive  
    param( [string]$name, [string]$login = "MyLogin", [string]$root = "SQLSERVER:\SQL\MyComputer\MyInstance" )  
    $pwd = read-host -AsSecureString -Prompt "Password"  
    $cred = new-object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $login,$pwd  
    New-PSDrive $name -PSProvider SqlServer -Root $root -Credential $cred -Scope 1  
## Use the sqldrive function to create a SQLAuth virtual drive.  
sqldrive SQLAuth  
## CD to the virtual drive, which invokes the supplied authentication credentials.  
cd SQLAuth  

SQL Server Authentication Using Invoke-Sqlcmd

To use Invoke-Sqlcmd with SQL Server Authentication

  1. Use the -Username parameter to specify a login ID, and the -Password parameter to specify the associated password.

Example (Invoke-Sqlcmd)

This example uses the read-host cmdlet to prompt the user for a password, and then connects using SQL Server Authentication.

## Prompt the user for their password.  
$pwd = read-host -AsSecureString -Prompt "Password"  
Invoke-Sqlcmd -Query "SELECT GETDATE() AS TimeOfQuery;" -ServerInstance "MyComputer\MyInstance" -Username "MyLogin" -Password $pwd  

See Also

SQL Server PowerShell
SQL Server PowerShell Provider
Invoke-Sqlcmd cmdlet