Cannot Start Server Service

While scripting a report; I came across an error about being unable to connect.

I examined the server in question and found the server service was not running.

I tried to start it but it stopped immediately with the following error in the system event log:

Windows could not start the Server service on Local Computer

Error: 1808: The account used is a computer account. Use your Global user account or local user account to access this server.

However, the service was configured correctly to run as the Local System account.

It's an odd problem and the error is misleading. The actual cause was that a user had placed a UNC path in the global PATH environment variable (e.g. \\server\share).

After removing the offending entry the server service started right away.