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Moving System Databases

Updated: 17 November 2008

This topic describes how to move system databases in SQL Server 2005. Moving system databases may be useful in the following situations:

  • Failure recovery. For example, the database is in suspect mode or has shut down because of a hardware failure.
  • Planned relocation.
  • Relocation for scheduled disk maintenance.

The following procedures apply to moving database files within the same instance of SQL Server. To move a database to another instance of SQL Server or to another server, use the backup and restore or detach and attach operations.

The procedures in this topic require the logical name of the database files. To obtain the name, query the name column in the sys.master_files catalog view.

ms345408.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
If you move a system database and subsequently rebuild the master database, you must move the system database again because the rebuild operation installs all system databases to their default location. For more information about rebuilding the master database, see "Rebuilding System Databases, Rebuilding the Registry" in How to: Install SQL Server 2005 from the Command Prompt.

To move a system database data or log file as part of a planned relocation or scheduled maintenance operation, follow these steps. This procedure applies to all system databases except the master and Resource databases.

  1. For each file to be moved, run the following statement.
    ALTER DATABASE database_name MODIFY FILE ( NAME = logical_name , FILENAME = 'new_path\os_file_name' )
    
  2. Stop the instance of SQL Server or shut down the system to perform maintenance. For more information, see Stopping Services.
  3. Move the file or files to the new location.
  4. Restart the instance of SQL Server or the server. For more information, see Starting and Restarting Services.
  5. Verify the file change by running the following query.
    SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation, state_desc
    FROM sys.master_files
    WHERE database_id = DB_ID(N'<database_name>');
    

If the msdb database is moved and the instance of SQL Server is configured for Database Mail, complete these additional steps.

  1. Verify that Service Broker is enabled for the msdb database by running the following query.
    SELECT is_broker_enabled 
    FROM sys.databases
    WHERE name = N'msdb';
    
    For more information about enabling Service Broker, see ALTER DATABASE (Transact-SQL).
  2. Verify that Database Mail is working by sending a test mail. For more information, see Troubleshooting Database Mail.

If a file must be moved because of a hardware failure, follow these steps to relocate the file to a new location. This procedure applies to all system databases except the master and Resource databases.

ms345408.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
If the database cannot be started--that is, it is in suspect mode or in an unrecovered state--only members of the sysadmin fixed role can move the file.

  1. Stop the instance of SQL Server if it is started.
  2. Start the instance of SQL Server in master-only recovery mode by entering one of the following commands at the command prompt. The parameters specified in these commands are case sensitive. The commands fail when the parameters are not specified as shown.
    • For the default (MSSQLSERVER) instance, run the following command:
      NET START MSSQLSERVER /f /T3608
      
    • For a named instance, run the following command:
      NET START MSSQL$instancename /f /T3608
      
    For more information, see How to: Start an Instance of SQL Server (net Commands).
  3. For each file to be moved, use sqlcmd commands or SQL Server Management Studio to run the following statement.
    ALTER DATABASE database_name MODIFY FILE( NAME = logical_name , FILENAME = 'new_path\os_file_name' )
    
    For more information about using the sqlcmd utility, see Using the sqlcmd Utility.
  4. Exit the sqlcmd utility or SQL Server Management Studio.
  5. Stop the instance of SQL Server. For example, run NET STOP MSSQLSERVER.
  6. Move the file or files to the new location.
  7. Restart the instance of SQL Server. For example, run NET START MSSQLSERVER.
  8. Verify the file change by running the following query.
    SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation, state_desc
    FROM sys.master_files
    WHERE database_id = DB_ID(N'<database_name>');
    

The Resource database depends on the location of the master database. The Resource data and log files must reside together and must be in the same location as the master data file (master.mdf). Therefore, if you move the master database, you must also move the Resource database to the same location as the master data file. Do not put the Resource database in either compressed or encrypted NTFS file system folders. Doing so will hinder performance and prevent upgrades.

To move the master and Resource databases, follow these steps.

  1. From the Start menu, point to All Programs, point to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, point to Configuration Tools, and then click SQL Server Configuration Manager.
  2. In the SQL Server 2005 Services node, right-click the instance of SQL Server (for example, SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)) and choose Properties.
  3. In the SQL Server (instance_name) Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
  4. Edit the Startup Parameters values to point to the planned location for the master database data and log files, and click OK. Moving the error log file is optional.
    The parameter value for the data file must follow the -d parameter and the value for the log file must follow the -l parameter. The following example shows the parameter values for the default location of the master data and log files.
    -dC:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\DATA\master.mdf;-eC:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\LOG\ERRORLOG;-lC:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\DATA\mastlog.ldf
    
    If the planned relocation for the master data and log files is E:\SQLData, the parameter values would be changed as follows:
    -dE:\SQLData\master.mdf;-eC:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\LOG\ERRORLOG;-lE:\SQLData\mastlog.ldf
    
  5. Stop the instance of SQL Server by right-clicking the instance name and choosing Stop.
  6. Move the master.mdf and mastlog.ldf files to the new location.
  7. Start the instance of SQL Server in master-only recovery mode by entering one of the following commands at the command prompt. The parameters specified in these commands are case sensitive. The commands fail when the parameters are not specified as shown.
    • For the default (MSSQLSERVER) instance, run the following command.
      NET START MSSQLSERVER /f /T3608
      
    • For a named instance, run the following command.
      NET START MSSQL$instancename /f /T3608
      
    For more information, see How to: Start an Instance of SQL Server (net Commands).
  8. Using sqlcmd commands or SQL Server Management Studio, run the following statements. Change the FILENAME path to match the new location of the master data file. Do not change the name of the database or the file names.
    ALTER DATABASE mssqlsystemresource 
        MODIFY FILE (NAME=data, FILENAME= 'new_path_of_master\mssqlsystemresource.mdf');
    GO
    ALTER DATABASE mssqlsystemresource 
        MODIFY FILE (NAME=log, FILENAME= 'new_path_of_master\mssqlsystemresource.ldf');
    GO
    
  9. Move the mssqlsystemresource.mdf and mssqlsystemresource.ldf files to the new location.
  10. Set the Resource database to read-only by running the following statement.
    ALTER DATABASE mssqlsystemresource SET READ_ONLY;
    
  11. Exit the sqlcmd utility or SQL Server Management Studio.
  12. Stop the instance of SQL Server.
  13. Restart the instance of SQL Server.
  14. Verify the file change for the master database by running the following query. The Resource database metadata cannot be viewed by using the system catalog views or system tables.
    SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation, state_desc
    FROM sys.master_files
    WHERE database_id = DB_ID('master');
    GO
    

A. Moving the tempdb database

The following example moves the tempdb data and log files to a new location as part of a planned relocation.

ms345408.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifNote:
Because tempdb is re-created each time the instance of SQL Server is started, you do not have to physically move the data and log files. The files are created in the new location when the service is restarted in step 3. Until the service is restarted, tempdb continues to use the data and log files in existing location.

  1. Determine the logical file names of the tempdb database and their current location on the disk.
    SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation
    FROM sys.master_files
    WHERE database_id = DB_ID(N'tempdb');
    GO
    
  2. Change the location of each file by using ALTER DATABASE.
    USE master;
    GO
    ALTER DATABASE tempdb 
    MODIFY FILE (NAME = tempdev, FILENAME = 'E:\SQLData\tempdb.mdf');
    GO
    ALTER DATABASE tempdb 
    MODIFY FILE (NAME = templog, FILENAME = 'F:\SQLLog\templog.ldf');
    GO
    
  3. Stop and restart the instance of SQL Server.
  4. Verify the file change.
    SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation, state_desc
    FROM sys.master_files
    WHERE database_id = DB_ID(N'tempdb');
    
  5. Delete the tempdb.mdf and templog.ldf files from the original location.

Release History

17 November 2008

Updated content:
  • Added the requirement that the Resource data and log files must be in the same location as the master data file.

14 April 2006

New content:
  • Added the Important note about moving system databases after rebuilding the master database.
Updated content:
  • Modified the procedure for moving the master and Resource databases.

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