How to Clear Stubborn Transaction Logs in Microsoft SQL Server17 February 2017
Clearing transaction logs in SQL databases can be a pain when the database sometimes gets huge and it can’t ever clear the logs even after backup. How to clear those stubborn transaction logs?
In older versions of SQL server (such as MSSQL 2008 or older), I recommended the method
of backing up the database with
TRUNCATE_ONLY and then running
something like this:
USE DatabaseName DBCC SHRINKFILE( TransactionLogName, 200 ) BACKUP LOG DatabaseName WITH TRUNCATE_ONLY DBCC SHRINKFILE( TransactionLogName, 200 )
TRUNCATE_ONLY has became a deprecated solution, however, and actually doesn’t work
in 2012 and beyond. However, if you still run a
BACKUP LOG command, it will typically
USE DatabaseName BACKUP LOG DatabaseName TO DISK='c:\path\to\backup\file.trn' DBCC SHRINKFILE( TransactionLogName, 200 )
Run this 2 or 3 times and normally the log will finally shrink.
Why the need to run it multiple times? Because there are segments of the file that are
in use or marked as not ready to be removed. You can observe this activity with the
Any records with a
2 are portions of the log that are active or otherwise
incapable of being truncated as of yet. I’ve heard of databases sometimes being really
stubborn and not letting go of these, but often I’ve seen this method will work on
MSSQL 2012 and beyond.