Starting and Stopping SQL Server with PowerShell

Have you ever had this issue? You are trying to explore new features of SQL Server or you want to install the latest version for some testing, but SQL Server is a resource hog and kills your the performance of your PC. I have been evaluating SQL Server 2019 including both flavors of Analysis Services. That means I am installing the Developer edition of SQL Server on my laptop (a Yoga 900) running Windows 10.

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I have dealt with this issue in the past by opening the services window and setting the Startup Type to Manual and then turning it on when I wanted to work with them. In my current use case, I did not want to have to manage that with a lot of clicks. So, my thought was this should be easy with PowerShell. Of course, nothing is easy when it is not something you do everyday. So I started digging.

I found it is definitely possible but you need to know the steps that matter including making sure that PowerShell will execute the scripts on your PC. So here are the steps and code.

Empowering Your PC to Run Your PowerShell

The first issue is that PowerShell will not execute on your PC until you allow it. You will need to open PowerShell as an Administrator. You can leave the window open once we are done here. The following code will allow code created on your PC to be executed on your PC.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Shutting Down SQL Server with PowerShell

I chose to create two PowerShell files that will allow me to execute these steps for all the services I am managing in. In my examples, I have three instances of SQL Server – Data Engine Services, Analysis Services – Multidimensional Model, and Analysis Services – Tabular Mode.

The code required to startup SQL Server is noted below.

Set-Service 'MSSQL$DOWSQL2019' -StartupType Disabled
Stop-Service -Name 'MSSQL$DOWSQL2019' -Force

Let’s break it down. The first line will actually set the StartupType to Disabled. This will prevent it from restarting via a reboot. You will need to be intentional about restarting the service. The second line is the command to stop the service. The “Force” flag will shut down dependant services like SQL Agent if you have that running.

You will need to know the service name. SQL Server Data Engine Services are typically named “MSSQL$” followed by the instance name. If you are using Analysis Services, the naming using “MSOLAP$” as the prefix.

You can run these scripts directly in your PowerShell window. I did this while testing them. I wrote them in Visual Studio Code, but had issues executing them. You may be fine, I wanted to let you know my experience. Once I had my three instances scripted, I saved them in a file called SQLServerOff.ps1.

Turning Them on with PowerShell

The process and the code is similar. You first need to enable the services then start them up.

Set-Service 'MSSQL$DOWSQL2019' -StartupType Manual
Start-Service -Name 'MSSQL$DOWSQL2019' 

I chose the Startup Type “Manual” so I still need to turn them on. It is possible to set that to Automatic if you want it to start up on a reboot for instance. I then saved these in a file called SQLServerOn.ps1.

Running the PS1 Files

There are a couple of options to execute your file. While I was testing and I used the PowerShell window I had open. In order to execute your file replace “YOUR PATH” with the full path to the script.

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> & "YOUR PATH\SQLServicesOn.ps1"

While a good pattern, I was still looking for the “one-click” solution. Some more digging resulted in me finding the way to execute PowerShell file from a shortcut. I did this by going to the desktop, right clicking an empty space and creating a new, blank short cut. Here is the command you can use for the shortcut:

powershell.exe -noexit -File “YOUR PATH\SQLServicesOn.ps1”

Add the snippet above with the proper path for your code to the shortcut location. Once you have named your shortcut and saved it, you need to open the properties on the shortcut. Go to the advanced settings and run this as Administrator (this will not work without that setting turned on). You can now add the shortcut to a place convenient for you such as your task bar.

While I focused on SQL Server services, this will work other services as well. Enjoy!