SQL SERVER – Where is ERRORLOG? Various Ways to Find its Location

Whenever someone reports some weird error on my blog comments or sends email to know about it, I always ask to share SQL Server ERRORLOG file. There have been many occasions where I need to guide them to find location of ERRORLOG file generated by SQL Server. Most DBA’s are intelligent and know some of these, but this is my try to share my learnings.

I decided to write this blog so that I can reuse it rather than sending steps every time. At this point I must point out that even if the name says ERRORLOG, it contains not only the errors but information message also. Here are various ways to find the location of SQL Server Errorlogs:

A) If SQL Server is running and we are able to connect to SQL Server then we can do various things. So we can connect to SQL Server and run xp_readerrorlog.

EXEC xp_readerrorlog 0, 1, N'Logging SQL Server messages in file'

If you can’t remember above command just run xp_readerrorlog and find the line which says “Logging SQL Server messages”.

B) If we are not able to connect to SQL Server then we should SQL Server Configuration Manageuse. We need to find startup parameter starting with -e. Below is the place in SQL Server Configuration Manager (SQL 2012 onwards) where we can see them.

C) If you don’t want to use both ways then here is the little unknown secret. The ERRORLOG is one of startup parameter and its values are stored in registry key and here is the key in my server. SQLArg1 shows parameter starting with -e parameters which point to Errorlog file.

Here is the key which I highlighted in image: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL12.SQL2014\MSSQLServer\Parameters\

Note that “MSSQL12.SQL2014” would vary based on SQL Server Version and instance name which is installed. Here is the quick table with version reference

SQL Server Version Key Name
SQL Server 2008 MSSQL10
SQL Server 2008 R2 MSSQL10_50
SQL Server 2012 MSSQL11
SQL Server 2014 MSSQL12

In SQL Server 2005, we would see a key name in the format of MSSQL.n (like MSSQL.1) the number n would vary based on instance ID.

Here is a key where we can get mapping of Instance ID and directory.

In the above image, you can see that this computer has a default instance (Instance Name MSSQLSERVER) of SQL Server 2012 and named instance (Instance Name SQL2014) of SQL Server 2014.

In case you are contacting me for any error, get the Errorlog using this blog.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Backup and Restore Behavior of ReadOnly Filegroup Databases

Last week I wrote about SQL SERVER – Marking Filegroup as ReadOnly with SQL Server and it got me interested into few key questions. One of the questions someone asked was, how will backups behave? Are there anything I need to know about ReadOnly Filegroups? Will these databases when restored take this setting along? So in this blog post, let me take few simple steps in the learning journey I had when working with ReadOnly filegroups.

TSQL Scripts

Let us start out by creating the database first.
( NAME = N'ReadOnlyDB', FILENAME = N'C:\Temp\ReadOnlyDB.mdf' , SIZE = 4024KB , FILEGROWTH = 1024KB )
( NAME = N'ReadOnlyDB_FG', FILENAME = N'C:\Temp\ReadOnlyDB_FG.ndf' , SIZE = 4096KB , FILEGROWTH = 1024KB )
( NAME = N'ReadOnlyDB_log', FILENAME = N'C:\Temp\ReadOnlyDB_log.ldf' , SIZE = 20480KB , FILEGROWTH = 10%)
-- Mark the filegroup read-only

I have gone ahead by marking the filegroup as Read_Only. Next I am going ahead with a FULL Backup.

TO  DISK = N'C:\Temp\ReadOnlyDB.bak'
NAME = N'ReadOnlyDB-Full Database Backup',

Next we will drop the database and restore the same.

-- Clean up time
USE [master]

In the above command, we restored the database back to the same location. Now let us go ahead and check the filegroup’s settings for read_only attribute.

USE ReadOnlyDB
-- Check the status
SELECT type_desc, physical_name, is_read_only
FROM sys.database_files

You can see our secondary filegroup is still marked as read_only.

There is one important learning that I got in this experiment. The database fileroups that are marked as read_only is retained as part of fullbackup and when we restore such backups, these settings get carried forward in our restored database.

I hope you got some learning as part of this experiment. Are you using these concepts in your environments? Do let us know via the comments below.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Interview Question of the Week #012 – Steps to Restore Bak File to Database

Here is the question, I was asked the other day at the conference.

Question: If I have a .bak file and I want to restore it database what are the various steps involved in it. Assume that I do not know much about that backup file.

Answer: I love this question, as it has a clear need, but there is ambiguity in the process.

Step 1: Retrieve the logical file name of the database

Step 2: Bring database to single user

Step 3: Restore database with the help of the logical file name retrieved earlier.

Step 4: Bring database to multi user mode.

Here are all the four steps together:

----Retrieve logical file name
FROM DISK = 'D:\BackUpYourBaackUpFile.bak'
----Make Database to single user Mode
----Restore Database
FROM DISK = 'D:\BackUpYourBaackUpFile.bak'
WITH MOVE 'YourMDFLogicalName' TO 'D:\DataYourMDFFile.mdf',
MOVE 'YourLDFLogicalName' TO 'D:\DataYourLDFFile.ldf'
----Make Database to multi user Mode

Here is the blog post I wrote earlier, which describes the same process SQL SERVER – Restore Database Backup using SQL Script (T-SQL).

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Trivia – Days in a Year

Every time I wrote a blog, I tend to get back to most of them via the search. Most of you ask me questions and I do few simple search back to make sure I am able to address them. Yesterday as I was searching for an interesting question, Now back to the question that got me there, one of a friend said he was asked in an interview on how to efficiently find the number of days in a given year.

The question was interesting but what baffled me was – do people still ask such questions? It was a challenge that I wanted to share with you. I wanted to take the challenge and immediately got to my SQL Server machine to solve. The instinctive behavior was to use some basic methods that involved DATEADD and DATEPART options.

The first solution that I got was:

--This method will work on SQL server 2005 and above.
SELECT DATEPART(dy,(DATEADD(YEAR,@year-1899,0)-1))

Immediately I sent the above option. Then he quizzed me asking, can you use some of the New Date time functions that were introduced with SQL Server 2012. Now, I was not prepared for the googly that came my way. But after getting my heads around it, I came up with the below query.

--This technique will work in SQL Server 2012 and above.

Woot !!! That was not simple as I had to search my blog for ideas.

Quiz: Can you come up with some solution which will have lesser number of functions involved? Can you use some of the new SQL Server 2012 Date functions in your solution? Let me know via comments.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Add Node in Cluster – Rule “Node and cluster edition match” failed

Every day I get many emails and blog comment with at least one new problem every day. Recently, one of my blog readers sent an email asking assistance. She already had two node Windows Cluster. Let us call them Node1 and Node2. SQL Server Clustered instance, was successfully installed on Node1. In SQL 2008 onwards, we need to run setup on Node2 and perform “AddNode” action by choosing below option.

While performing AddNode, there was a Rule Failure.

Rule Check Result

Rule “Node and cluster edition match” failed.

The edition of the new node does not match the edition of the cluster.


I asked to share the setup logs from Node2 and while looking at them, I found below.

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Initializing rule      : Node and cluster edition match

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Rule applied features  : ALL

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Rule is will be executed  : True

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Init rule target object: Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SetupExtension.AddNodeEditionBlock

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: The edition user specified is: ENTERPRISE

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: The edition of the cluster instance: STANDARD

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Evaluating rule        : AddNodeEditionBlock

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Rule running on machine: Node2

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Rule evaluation done   : Failed

2015-03-10 12:00:22 Slp: Rule evaluation message: The edition of the new node does not match the edition of the cluster.

If you closely look at the highlighted lines, you should be able to understand the issue. In case you didn’t understand – here is the issue.

SQL Server 2008 R2, which is installed is of Edition “Standard” edition (shown as an edition of clustered instance). The media, which were getting used while trying to perform AddNode operation was of “Enterprise” edition (shown as user specified).

Solution of the issue is very straight forward. She was supposed to use the media of the same edition, which was installed on Node1. Here is the screen where we can see edition of media.

The edition of the media is decided by the product key provided in the previous screen.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Adding a Master Data Services to your Enterprise – Notes from the Field #072

[Note from Pinal]: This is a 72th episode of Notes from the Field series. Master Data Services is one of the most important but very little explored feature of SQL Server. If you have been reading this blog, when it is about BI, I always take help from LinchPin People who are BI experts. I requested Reeves from LinchiPin people to help me answer this unique question.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series database expert Reeves Smith explains why one should add Master Data services to our enterprise. Read the experience of Reeves in his own words.

With all of the focus on big data, I want to remind everyone not to forget about data governance and master data management in general. While working on various data warehouse projects, I have found this area to be often overlooked. I want to stress that if you are building a data warehouse or a reporting system, then data governance should be one of the key components of almost any project.

I wanted to start off with a couple of posts to show how you could implement SQL Server Master Data Services in you enterprise. Tyler Gramm wrote a white paper “Implementing a Phased Approach to Master Data Management” (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff626496.aspx) that outlines taking small steps to start your first master data management project. In this series I will outline some steps to help bring reference data in SQL Server Master Data Services instance to start you off on your way.

Let’s first define data governance to better understand where master data management fits within that methodology. Data governance can be defined as a complete process with the ability to manage the data assets within the enterprise. Data governance also defines how you manage the assets that have the greatest business value for your organization’s day-to-day operations.

Where does master data management fall within a data governance approach?  Master data management is one area within the data governance process that focuses on management of reference and master data. Master data management is combined with a fair amount of business process and I will leave the process aspect for another author. An example of a business process within master data management would be the decision on which data source is considered the truth when a discrepancy in master data arises between two source systems.

In this post I will discuss the why you would want to consider Microsoft SQL Server Master Data Services. If Microsoft SQL Server is in your environment, integration will easy and Excel provides a great interface for the data stewards.

Note: SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services and SQL Server 2014 Master Data Services are nearly identical.

Master data management is as much a business function as a technical one. Master data is managed within SQL Server and often integrated within Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) processes, but the actual management and oversight of the data should be performed by the business. This involvement is provided with help from roles like a data steward. A data steward can been seen as a representative of the data, while the technical resources serve as the caretakers of the data. Accepting these roles is one of the first hurdles to overcome with any master data management project. The business will control most of the direction within the project, and the technical team will be in charge of system integration and support.

Setting up a Master Data Services instance within SQL Server is a fairly straightforward process after you’ve installed all of the prerequisites with Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). Figure 1 shows the SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services Configuration Manager. See https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee633744.aspx for more details on how to install and configure the server and backend processes used within the Master Data Services process.

Figure 1 – Master Data Configuration Manager

Note: You may configure the web services portion of Master Data Services install on another machine. It does not need to be on the same machine as the SQL Server database. Multiple licenses could apply with this configuration, so check with a licensing professional.

After setting up Master Data Services, you will want to give data access to the business to enable the actual management of the data. This is best provided by the installation of the Master Data Services add-in for Excel, which you see in Figure 2. This add-in will give the business users with appropriate knowledge of the data direct access to work with and support master data from their favorite data tool, Excel.

Figure 2 – Master Data Services Add-in for Excel

Note: The add-in for Excel does not support some functions, such as model creation and hierarchy. You will have to manage the unsupported functions from the web site.

Getting Started

One of the best projects for beginning a master data management implementation is to start with managing reference data. Reference data exists in every environment and is frequently managed within Excel spreadsheets without database durability and/or version control.  Moving this data into Master Data Services from an Excel spreadsheet is a fairly straight forward task that can be accomplished with little risk.

What’s Next

In the coming post, we will walk through moving reference data from an excel worksheet to an entity within a Master Data Services model.

At a high level the steps that we will discuss in the following post will be:

  • Create a model to store the reference data (completed on the MDS website)
  • Format the reference data in Excel
  • Click Create Entity button on the Master Data tab within Excel and select your data

Hope this helps you get started.

If you want to get started with BIML with the help of experts, read more over at Fix Your SQL Server.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Backup on mapped drive failing with error – Msg 3201, Level 16, State 1 – Operating system error 3(The system cannot find the path specified.)

We are so used to taking backups and it can sometimes give us new experiences. One of the common messages I see are around taking backups on a share. If you have found this blog while searching for error message then you may want to look at below blogs as well if you are NOT dealing with mapped drive.

SQL SERVER – Error: Fix: Msg 5133, Level 16, State 1, Line 2 Directory lookup for the file failed with the operating system error 2(The system cannot find the file specified.) – Part 2

This time I will explain why you are getting this error while taking backup on a mapped drive. Here is the situation:

  1. SQL Server Service running under domain account.
  2. You have already mapped the drive in Windows and can see that drive in Windows Explorer.
  3. You are not able to see the drive which is mapped. Below is the screenshot of screen where you choose backup file name. If you try to take backup from SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) you are not able to see the drive. As we can see, SSMS is only showing local drive (C and D)
  1. Backup command is failing with below error.

Msg 3201, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Cannot open backup device ‘Z:\master.bak’. Operating system error 3(The system cannot find the path specified.).
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

If we try to get details about the drives visible from SQL Server by Windows “dir” command then we see below.

xp_cmdshell 'dir Z:'

The system cannot find the path specified.
(2 row(s) affected)

Above confirms that SQL is not able to see Z drive, even though it is mapped on Windows. In case you get below error

Msg 15123, Level 16, State 1, Procedure sp_configure, Line 72
The configuration option ‘xp_cmdshell’ does not exist, or it may be an advanced option.

Then you need to execute below to enable xp_cmdshell as its disabled by default due to security reasons. (Please turn off again once you done with the work)

EXEC sp_configure 'advanced', 1
EXEC sp_configure 'xp_cmdshell', 1

We are seeing “The system cannot find the path specified.” because SQL Server instance as it is running as a service. To fix the error, we need to map the drive via SQL Server. Here are the steps.

-- Map the drive via T-SQL so that SQL can see it.
EXEC xp_cmdshell 'net use Z: \\BigPinal\SharedFolder'

Now we can check mapped drive via T-SQL.

xp_cmdshell 'dir Z:'

You may want to add more parameters for net use. Refer Net use documentation

Once this is done, we can see that drive in SSMS as shown below

… and as expected, backup command would not fail.

Have you ever faced this situation such weird situations? What were your resolution steps? Let me know as we can learn from each other.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)