How to Restore SQL Server Master Database With or Without Backup

DZone 's Guide to

How to Restore SQL Server Master Database With or Without Backup

To reduce failed attempts from users, we will talk about restoring the SQL master database in this post.

· Database Zone ·
Free Resource

Despite being a popular relational database management system, SQL Server often encounters corruption and other issues. For this reason, SQL users often complain about being in trouble and unable to perform some simple tasks. However, it is not always the fault of SQL Server that the users cannot restore the SQL Server master database seamlessly. Sometimes, users do not have sufficient knowledge about the process either, and that is what stops them from successful database restoration. To reduce failed attempts from users, we will talk about restoring the SQL master database in this post. Continue reading to learn about the processes in detail.

Why Do You Need to Restore SQL Master Database?

Master database file (A.K.A. MDF file) is the main user database file that contains all the major data in it. If the database gets infected by a virus or encounters some other severe issue, it is the database file that gets affected in the beginning. In case of database corruption or some other errors, master database restoration is the only solution users are left with.

How to Restore SQL Server Master Database

Users who face the need to restore MDF file may or may not have a backup file with them. No matter how strange it may seem, many database admins do not regularly back up their SQL database. Hence, they do not have any backup files to restore. We will talk about both situations and how users can restore their master database with and without a backup file.

Restore SQL Server Master Database from Backup File

User's Query: “Hello all. I am in urgent need to restore SQL master database. But sadly, when I try out the manual technique, I fail to perform the restoration process. I started the process by putting the Server in Single user mode, but after performing one to two more steps, I encountered some error. Not sure where I made the mistake that the process got aborted. Can you suggest how to restore master database from backup manually? I am using SQL Server Enterprise 2005 version and my operating system is Windows Server 2008 R2.”

If you have a backup of the master database, then you can easily restore the MDF file using the manual method. Make sure the backup does not contain any corruption issues. The process is short and does not need the help ofany extra tool. Here is the guide to manually restorethe master database in SQL Server.

  • Put your SQL Server instance into the single user Mode.
  • Run this TSQL command to restore the master database:


The "replace" command means the restoration process will continue even if there is a database with the same name, and the existing database will be removed.

Note: When the restoration process is complete, SQL Server instance will close down. You have to switch the single-user parameter before starting the Server again.

Restart SQL Server and perform other recovery tasks like database attachment, other database file restoration, etc.

Restore Master Database Without Backup File

User's Query: “I am a SQL Server 2016 users and my database has become corrupt severely. The database contains a lot of business-critical data, so I cannot do away with the MDF file. Is it possible to restore SQL Server Master database without backup file? Please tell me as I am okay with both the manual and the automated method.”

It is possible that you may not have the MDF file backup with you. Earlier, users had a troublesome time without a backup, but not anymore. Now, they can easily restore the master database from their corrupt or damaged MDF file with the help of SysTools SQL Recovery. The process of restoration is simple and straight forward. Just follow the steps mentioned below and get your task done.

Image title

  • Select the Advance Scan option. Also, add the SQL Server version. If you do not know the version of the SQL MDF file, then it has an option to Auto-detect the version. Click on OK.

Image title

  • The application will scan the MDF file to fix all the corruption issues and show the scanning report.

Image title

  • You can preview any item of the master database by clicking on the tree structure of the left panel and clicking the Export button.

Image title

  • Choose Export as an option, whether you want to export as SQL Server Database or as SQL .csv scipt.

Image title

  • Enter SQL Server credentials like its server name, username, and password, and select the destination database in which you want to export your recovered database objects.

Image title

  • Select the With Schema & Data option and click the Export button, and the restoration of the master database of SQL Server will be done effortlessly.

Image title

  • You can visit the SQL Server and locate the restored database there.

Image title


Various reasons can lead you to restore the SQL Server master database. While the manual approach is fine, if you have a backup, the software will let you restore the master database without backup. Choose the solution based on your demand and restore without any trouble.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

sql database recovery ,restore sql database ,database ,tutorial ,sql server ,master database

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}