We are running ArcGIS 10.5.1 and MS SQL Server, and using an SDE connection file which is configured to use 'Operating System' credentials.

When most users connect, the 'Geodatabase Administration' dialogue shows their Active Directory account correctly. But when I connect using the same connection file, the same dialogue shows the connection username as 'DBO' (the MSSQL database owner user).

Now, I am a privileged user, including a member of the MS SQL 'sysadmin' role, so I'm sure it must be related to this. But shouldn't it show the Windows/AD username that I am connected as?

Why does it show my connection as 'DBO' and not as the account with which I connected?

Here is what the connection properties looks like:

Connection Properties

Below is the Geodatabase Administration Dialogue. In this case, the smudged-out username is of the format '"Domain\User.Name"' and this user connected using the same connection file as myself, which it shows as 'DBO'. (The 'GISADMIN' and 'SDE' connections used different connection files.)

Geodatabase Administration Dialogue

  • If you go into SSMS, and look under Securty>Logins>domainname\yourusername what is shown in the "User Mapping" section of the Login Properties dialog? Sep 5, 2018 at 2:06
  • My username is not there explicitly. There are a a few 'domain\group' AD groups that I'm a member of, and at least one of these groups is in the 'sysadmin' role. None of these groups has any user mapping. I've just posted an answer below that I think (partially) explains it. I'm not entirely happy with it though. Sep 5, 2018 at 2:07
  • Is this something new? I've just noticed that my system is doing this as well, and it wasn't previously. I'm also on 10.5.1.
    – Sue
    Dec 10, 2018 at 15:48
  • Welcome to GIS SE! As a new user, please take the tour to learn about this site's focused Q&A format. Answers should be used to address the OP's question rather than for extended discussion.
    – Andy
    Dec 10, 2018 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


It appears to be a 'feature' (or anomaly?) that MS SQL reports the SESSION_USER as 'dbo' for any login that is a member of the 'sysadmin' role.

I found this information on the 'DBA stack exchange' here. To quote:

Each Database has a single User, dbo, that is mapped to a Login. A Login that is mapped to the dbo User will show up as dbo for SESSION_USER when the "current" Database is the DB in question.

AND, Logins in the sysadmin fixed server role ... will show up as dbo in SESSION_USER..

The ArcGIS Geodatabase Administration dialogue must be using SESSION_USER rather than ORIGINAL_LOGIN.

This is annoying for my use case, but at least I now know a bit more about the how and why.

  • This was driving me crazy. It will also create new items (e.g. feature classes etc) in the dbo schema instead of the user's default schema in this situation. Feb 7 at 20:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.