That moment when you see your SQL Server database flagged as “Suspect”

It’s not a good moment when you see your database has been flagged as “Suspect”. Panic often sets in and questions run through your head – Do we have a good backup? How recent is that backup? How much data will be lost?

A lot of IT staff google how to recover from this scenario. But that’s the wrong first step because so much of the advice available is advice you only want to apply in the worst-case scenario and data loss is guaranteed with many of those solutions.

Instead, the first step is not to panic, and the second step is look at the server status.

Quite often the database is flagged as “Suspect” because the server is simply out of disk space and can’t roll back or forward any pending transactions. If that’s the case, free up some disk space or add more disk space. The amount depends on how busy the database is throughout the day. Once there is adequate disk space available on all drives, restart the SQL Server service. There is no need to reboot. The database should come back online relatively quickly, the time involved depends on the amount of transactions that has to be rolled forward or back. Do not reboot during database recovery. Once the database is back online, execute a consistency check on the database and if all is well, then take a full backup.

If you find yourself in this situation and the above solution did not work or does not apply, don’t panic. Call an expert for help and never detach the suspect database nor run a consistency check with Repair allow data loss option. An expert can provide the best solution to minimize data loss.

We hope you have found this edition of “To The Point” by Jan Crowe to be helpful and informative. Look out for our next installment as we continue to explore unique topics from business to the latest technology.

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