How to Restore SQL Server Database From MDF File in Every Possible Case

Written By Tej Pratap Shukla
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh  
Published On April 2nd, 2024
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

Restore MDF Files in SQL Server

The answer of most awaited query is here: How to restore SQL Server database from MDF file? We will be describing this in the article. So, keep an eye on this post and get the most appropriate solutions. Let’s begin!

In Microsoft SQL Server, the table database saves in primary storage file i.e., MDF or Master Database File. However, there are multiple scenarios where the user requires to restore database from primary MDF file in Microsoft SQL Server. Some common reasons to recover SQL database from MDF are described here:

  • Switching from current Microsoft SQL Server to a higher edition.
  • Need to import orphaned MDF File data in MS SQL Server.
  • Sudden database crash is also one of the reasons for this.
  • Requirement to restore database from corrupt SQL MDF File.

In fact, there are some other reasons also that require attach MDF without LDF to the SQL Server to view its table. So, after considering this query, we came up with this post to restore MDF file SQL Server DB. Here, readers will know all the methods that use to recover SQL Server database from healthy or corrupted MDF file.

How to Restore SQL Database from MDF File?

  • Launch the Software and add MDF files in it from system.
  • Select the Quick or Advance Scanning mode to continue.
  • Preview the Database Objects including the deleted data.
  • Set Destination Location Path & Authentication type.
  • Hit Export button to restore SQL database from MDF.

Users can get the advanced solution from SysTools which is widely recommended across the globe by leading experts. The utility comes with a demo version that allow users to download & test its features  for free. download this utility now.

Methods to Restore SQL Server Database From MDF File in 2022, 2019, 2017, 2016, & Others

In the following section, we consider two situations where users face difficulty to restore database from MDF file in SQL server.

  • SQL Server Import Database from Healthy MDF File
  • Recover Data from Corrupted MDF File

Now, based on these two situations we have a total of three solutions for users. The three solutions are enough for users to restore MDF file in SQL Server.

  • Manual Method of SSMS
  • Manual Method of T-SQL
  • The Automated Solution

Approach #1 – SSMS to Restore MDF Files in SQL Server (Without Corruption)

This method includes the most asked solution  to restore MDF file SQL Server that involves the SQL Server Management Studio i,e. SSMS. Let’s get straight to the method & understand how it is done.

You need to follow the following instructions and restore the MDF file database.

Step-1. First of all, you need to start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

Step-2. Once it is opened, go to Object Explorer section.

Step-3. After that, you need to right-click on Database and opt for Attach from the menu.

restore SQL Server database from MDF file manually

Step-4. An Attach Databases wizard open, click on Add button as shown in the screenshot.

click on add button

Step-5. Now, browse the MDF file whose database you want to restore and click on OK.

click on OK button

Step-6. Here, you can clearly view the MDF and LDF file under the database details section. Afterward, click on OK to restore the database in SQL Server.

again click on OK button

Step-7. Refresh the database and you will see the database of MDF file that you just attached.

Learning how to restore MDF file in SQL server with this method is so far the ideal one. However, when we move further, the T-SQL method is also not the best one.

Approach #2 to Restore SQL Server Database MDF – Using the T-SQL Method

A user can also opt another way to restore SQL Server database from MDF file via. T-SQL. In this workaround, you need to execute the following steps in the management studio. Follow the below steps carefully to get your desired results.

1. Launch the SSMS & Connect to your Database Engine first.

connect database engine

2. Hit the New Query option to continue.

run new query

3. Now, Run the below Query to restore database from MDF file:

ON (FILENAME = ‘C:\FilePath\File_name.mdf’)

command to restore ms sql server database

After executing this command successfully, refresh the database and you will see the newly restored database under the Object Explorer.

Approach #3 to Restore MDF File SQL Server & Restore in Server

In such a situation when the SQL primary database is corrupted, then above-mentioned workaround does not work. For this, you need to restore the corrupted MDF file and then attach the healthy file with SQL Server. This can be done by SysTools SQL Recovery Tool. It is an intelligent automated utility that fixes the corrupted SQL Server Primary & Secondary database file.

No matter how corrupt your MDF & NDF file is, the software can repair corrupted SQL Server database efficiently in a minimum span of time. Its prime function is to deeply scan database file and restores Tables, Views, Stored Procedures, Functions, Rules, and Triggers. The user can easily recover the deleted SQL database objects as well as table records in SQL Server One can directly export the recovered MDF file into the Live SQL Server environment and as SQL Scripts. It even repair MDF file all data objects even after permanent deletion .

Steps to restore SQL Server database from corrupted MDF file are as follows;

Step 1. Install the Software and click on Open to load MDF file.

launch software

Step 2. Choose Scan Mode and select a version of the MDF File. The user can also check recover deleted database objects.

file scan modes

Step 3. After Scanning Software shows the Complete SQL database objects such as Table, Stored Procedure, Functions, Views, Task etc

preview sql database

Step 4. On Export window, select all the advanced settings as per your requirement and click on Export to finish learning how to restore MDF file in SQL Server DB.


Step 5. A live real-time export report will display on the screen where user can analyze the on-going process.


What’s More – In fact, you can transfer only schema or complete schema along with data from MDF file on designated location. Plus, you are free to export selective data from MDF file instead of the entire database. One can restore MDF & NDF file of any SQL Server, including SQL Server 2022, 2019/ 2017 / 2016 / 2014 / 2012 / 2008 / 2008 R2 / 2005 / 2000.

The Final Say

As we said above, there are lots of reasons where a user need to attach the SQL Server with MDF file to access its database. It can become crucial for them to restore MDF file SQL Server. However, due to lack of knowledge about the right methods, user becomes unable to do the same.

Therefore, we have described a complete tutorial on how to restore SQL Server database from MDF File. This guide works for healthy as well as corrupted SQL Server MDF.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q-1. What is the easy step-by-step solution to restore MDF files in SQL Server?

Ans: Download the software & follow the below steps to restore SQL database MDF easily:

  • Launch the tool & Add SQL MDF files.
  • Select Scan Mode for data restoration.
  • Now, Preview your SQL database files.
  • Now, Choose the Destination Location.
  • Hit Export to restore MDF files in SQL.
Q-2. How to restore SQL Server database from MDF file without Log file?

Ans: With the utility, its easy to recover SQL database from MDF file that is corrupted without the help of Transaction log file and recover the database from it.

Q-3. Is it possible to attach the corrupted primary database file with SSMS?

Ans: No, it is not possible to connect a damaged MDF file in SQL Server.

Q-4. What is we need to restore MDF files in batch?

Ans: In that case, the automated solution is the only solution as manual methods don’t offer batch restoration of the database.

Q-5. Is it possible to restore deleted records from a damaged SQL database files?

Ans: It can be easily done by advanced solution which has the potential to restore deleted table records back into the SQL Server environment.


By Tej Pratap Shukla

A versatile technocrat, always in the search for new and interesting areas related to technology. Works on multiple technical problems faced by users frequently. Provides the user-friendly solutions to deal with numerous technical issues.