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Posted 9 Jun 2006

How to Truncate Log File in SQL Server 2005

, 9 Jun 2006
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How to truncate log file in SQL Server 2005
Sample Image - shrink.jpg


SQL Server 2005 is quite different from SQL Server 2000. To truncate log file is one thing which is different from SQL Server 2000. In SQL Server 2000, you just use Shrink to whatever file size you like. In SQL Server 2005, sometimes I cannot shrink the log file at all.

Here I want to describe some tricks to truncate log file for a database in SQL Server 2005. The work environment is Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

I. Shrink the Log File Size at the Right Time

I found out this trick:

Immediately after I use the SSIS package or Import the data to the database (highlight the database->Tasks->Import data …), or Export the data from the database (highlight the database->Tasks->Export data …), I can shrink the log file to the desired size, for example, 1MB. That is, highlight the database->Tasks->Shrink->Files , set the file size, say, 1MB.

Then, click OK and you are done.

II. Eliminate the Log File Completely

Sometimes, we just do not need the big log file. For example, I have a 40GB log file. I am sure I do not need this log file and want to get rid of it completely to free up the hard drive space. The logic is:

  1. Detach the database
  2. Rename the log file
  3. Attach the database without the log file
  4. Delete the log file

Let’s say, the database name is testDev. In the SQL Server Management Studio,

  1. Highlight the database-> Tasks->Detach..-> Click OK
  2. Go to log file folder -> rename the testDev_log.ldf to be like testDev_log-aa.ldf
  3. Highlight Databases->Attach…-> Click Add -> add the database testDev, highlight the log file and click the ‘Remove’ button. This means you only attach testDev.mdf
  4. After this is done, you can verify the contents of the attached database and then delete the log file

This way we can safely delete the log file and free up the space.

If you think this is very helpful, please leave your comments online. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me at

Happy SQLing!


  • 9th June, 2006: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author
Web Developer
United States United States
.Focus on database (SQL Server 2005/2000/7/6.5 and Oracle 10g) development with C#,

.Like to work with MS Server 2005 SSIS and report service
.Like full cycle software design, development and deployment
.Microsoft Certified SQL Server Developer and DBA.

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Comments and Discussions

Questionانتا خارق Pin
Ahmed F Salameh9-Mar-14 23:43
memberAhmed F Salameh9-Mar-14 23:43 
General[My vote of 1] My vote of 1 Pin
muzzi_w7-Feb-13 13:35
membermuzzi_w7-Feb-13 13:35 
QuestionVery Helpful Pin
Jacky_kooboobird5-Jun-12 17:06
memberJacky_kooboobird5-Jun-12 17:06 
QuestionMy vote is 5 Pin
muhamd yusuf14-Feb-12 20:29
membermuhamd yusuf14-Feb-12 20:29 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Trong Thao3-Dec-10 17:42
memberTrong Thao3-Dec-10 17:42 
Generalshrinking log file in SQL2005 Pin
Okeola Mudashiru22-Oct-10 14:58
memberOkeola Mudashiru22-Oct-10 14:58 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
blackr2d19-Apr-10 23:23
memberblackr2d19-Apr-10 23:23 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
faisalcode4-Jun-10 11:52
memberfaisalcode4-Jun-10 11:52 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
blackr2d5-Jul-10 22:49
memberblackr2d5-Jul-10 22:49 
Point I specifies how to MANUALLY shrink the log after an SSIS bulk load. Errrmm... why not invoke it from SSIS itself???

Point II is essentially a way to delete recovery information, but not explaining the risks and why would anyone do it in the first place - a much easier and CLEANER way would be to switch to Simple Recovery Mode. Also better performance IF business case allows that recovery scenario.

Log files are created in Full mode for a purpose and there's a point to Full recovery mode - this answer and the whole article is not the right place to discuss that, most basic SQL 2005 documentation covers that topic properly.

In essence the whole article says "If you are running out of space on a HD because you have a Full Recovery Mode on the database for transactional integrity and rollback functionality - just delete it (the log), risking potential data loss, wasting the workload resources used to create that log... and then leave the database in Full recovery mode so you can panic and manually delete recovery information all over again".

What makes it strange is that I can see SQL gurus much better than me voicing very similar concerns for YEARS now and the article just hangs there to catch out an unwary SQL Admin looking for a quick answer because his HD is full.

VERY bad article and advice.

What's even more scary is that the author advertises himself as the "Microsoft Certified SQL Server Developer and DBA", as much as I doubt that claim it makes this BAD article more damaging as someone may believe this is a specialist advice.
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
shresthadk@hotmail.com4-Aug-10 16:29
membershresthadk@hotmail.com4-Aug-10 16:29 
QuestionHow to create Folder or File Name with Space ? Pin
Golden Jing22-Dec-09 0:08
memberGolden Jing22-Dec-09 0:08 
GeneralThis is not the way to shrink the file Pin
junk qwe23-Nov-09 12:34
memberjunk qwe23-Nov-09 12:34 
GeneralThanks Pin
Member 66136623-Oct-09 6:49
memberMember 66136623-Oct-09 6:49 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Jon Kehayias9-Sep-09 17:39
memberJon Kehayias9-Sep-09 17:39 
Jon Kehayias9-Sep-09 17:32
memberJon Kehayias9-Sep-09 17:32 
GeneralVery helpful Pin
lingli2004-Sep-09 9:10
memberlingli2004-Sep-09 9:10 
GeneralRe: Very helpful Pin
Jon Kehayias9-Sep-09 17:36
memberJon Kehayias9-Sep-09 17:36 
GeneralRe: Very helpful Pin
Basel Nimer15-Mar-10 2:45
memberBasel Nimer15-Mar-10 2:45 
GeneralThank U. Pin
>FLY<</xml>14-Aug-09 0:42
member>FLY<</xml>14-Aug-09 0:42 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Howard Richards22-Jul-09 5:54
memberHoward Richards22-Jul-09 5:54 
GeneralThanks Pin
abii44427-May-09 8:09
memberabii44427-May-09 8:09 
Member 45889187-May-09 5:21
memberMember 45889187-May-09 5:21 
GeneralThanks Pin
ohnmartun25-Oct-08 5:25
memberohnmartun25-Oct-08 5:25 
GeneralDetaching and deleting the log is definitely not advisable Pin
David Portas8-Apr-08 12:18
memberDavid Portas8-Apr-08 12:18 
GeneralThanks to all contributers [modified] Pin
Super Coder!10-Sep-07 19:20
memberSuper Coder!10-Sep-07 19:20 

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