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I've been going through the MS Cert 70-667 training kit and one of the exercises was to run:

Get-SPWebApplication -IncludeCentralAdministration | Get-SPSite -Limit ALL | Get-SPWeb -Limit ALL

This gave me access denied errors

I made sure to give the SP_Admin account powershellAccess to all content databases in SP but that didn't work.

The only thing that did work was when I followed these steps Which was basically to create a new managed account with SP_Admin and change the Service Account Farm Admin from SP_Farm to SP_Admin.

I'm concerned about least privileges permissions now and I'm not really sure what the impact of this change is.

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