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Cursor Transaction Isolation Levels

The transaction locking behavior of a specific cursor is determined by combining the locking behaviors of the cursor concurrency setting, any locking hints specified in the cursor SELECT, and transaction isolation level options.

Microsoft SQL Server supports these cursor transaction isolation levels:

Read Committed

SQL Server acquires a share lock while reading a row into a cursor but frees the lock immediately after reading the row. Because shared lock requests are blocked by an exclusive lock, a cursor is prevented from reading a row that another task has updated but not yet committed. Read committed is the default isolation level setting for both SQL Server and ODBC.

Read Uncommitted

SQL Server requests no locks while reading a row into a cursor and honors no exclusive locks. Cursors can be populated with values that have already been updated but not yet committed. The user is bypassing all of the locking transaction control mechanisms in SQL Server.

Repeatable Read or Serializable

SQL Server requests a shared lock on each row as it is read into the cursor as in READ COMMITTED, but if the cursor is opened within a transaction, the shared locks are held until the end of the transaction instead of being freed after the row is read. This has the same effect as specifying HOLDLOCK on a SELECT statement.

Snapshot

SQL Server requests no locks while reading a row into a cursor and honors no exclusive locks. Cursor is populated with the values as of the time when the transaction first started. Scroll locks are still requested regardless of use of snapshot isolation.

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