How to Restore SQL Master Database – Top 2 Solutions to Rebuild SQL Server Files

Written By Ashwani Tiwari
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On March 19th, 2024
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

how to restore master database in SQL Server

Here in this article we are going to understand about SQL Master database & the ways to rebuild or restore it in case it is unable to open. Moreover, topics like – How one can detect whether the master database is corrupted or not? and the step-by-step approach on how to restore SQL Master Database in SQL Server 2022, 2019, 2017, 2016 , 2014 , 2012 , 2008 / 2008 R2 , 2005 , 2000.

The Master Database includes all the system-level information of a SQL Server system. It comprises instance-wide metadata like Endpoints, Logon accounts, System configuration settings, and Linked servers. In SQL Server, system objects are no longer saves in the master database; instead of this, they are saved in the Resource database. Besides, Master is the database that is accountable to record the presence of all other databases and the storage location of those database files. It records all the initialization information for MS SQL Server. Hence, if the master database is unavailable or inaccessible (because of any corruption or disaster that wipe off the disk where master database is stored) then, one cannot start the SQL Server.

How to Detect If Master Database is Corrupt or Not?

The corruption in SQL Server database is very dangerous as it does not give any error message or notification regarding the corruption until users try to fetch the data. However, being a system admin, it is essential to determine the symptoms that indicate the corruption or damage in the master database, such as:

  • Segmentation faults or input/output errors.
  • Experiencing errors in executing SQL events.
  • Failure in launching the Microsoft SQL server.
  • Database Stuck while importing or exporting data files.
  • Report creation by Database Consistency Checker Utility.

In this article, we will go over a simple method to restore master database in SQL Server. Therefore, the users will know the exact way for how to repair corrupted SQL Server without losing any single bit of data. Actually, it is unusual to have the requirement of restoring the master database. However, in some conditions, this need may arise.

How to Restore Master Database in SQL Server with Top 2 Ways

There are two ways that users can opt in order to restore master database SQL Server or rebuild the MDF files. However, due to the huge gap in these two methods on the basis of features, accuracy, efficiency, etc. The reason for this is that one of them is the manual solution & the other one is the advanced one. The manual solution requires the basic to intermediate & sometimes advanced knowledge of SQL Server technicalities. Whereas the advanced utility only requires basic technicalities of the SQL Server.

To begin with, we’re going to start with the manual solution that includes T-SQL commands, SQL Server agents, etc. Later on we can switch to the automated tool that is a comparatively better way to get the desired results.

How to Restore SQL Master Database Manually?

It is surprisingly easy to execute SQL Server restore master database if you keep an up-to-date copy of your database that comprises the system records. It is so because the system catalog incorporates important details about the SQL Server configuration. Thus, users must have the MDF, NDF or LDF files. In some cases, BAK files can also be helpful to them.

Steps to Restore SQL Server Master Database are as follows;

The complete process to restore master database of SQL Server 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008 / 2008 R2, 2005, 2000  is categorized into two major steps:-

Step 1. Set Microsoft SQL Server to Single User Mode

    • Log in to SQL server as an administrator.
    • Navigate to Administrative Tools >> Services. Hit a right-click on the service SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) and click on Stop.
    • Hit double-click on SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) to launch the Service Properties wizard
    • Click on General tab, and in Start parameters section, type: -c -m

Restore SQL Master Database

  • Hit Start button in General tab to set the server in single user mode. After that, click on OK to quit the dialog box.

Step 2. Stop the SQL Server Services

    • In the Services wizard, hit a right-click on service SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER). Click on Stop.
    • In Services window, hit a right-click on service SQL Server Reporting (MSSQLSERVER) service. Click on Stop.

Restore SQL Master Database

Step 3. Restore SQL Server Master Database

Next, to restore full database backup of the master, run the following RESTORE DATABASE Transact-SQL query:


The REPLACE option orders SQL Server to restore the specified database even if a database of the same name exists already. If there is an existing database, it will be deleted.

Note: In single-user mode, we recommend that execute the RESTORE DATABASE statement in sqlcmd utility.

Once the master database is restored successfully, the instance of SQL Server will shut down and it will terminate the sqlcmd process. So, before restarting the server instance, you need to remove the single-user startup parameter.

Step 4. How to Set Microsoft SQL Server to Multi-User Mode

  • Log in to SQL server as an administrator
  • Navigate to Administrative Tools >> Services. Hit right-click on following services, and click on Start:
    • SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)
    • SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER)
    • SQL Server Reporting Services (MSSQLSERVER)

Quick and Safe Approach to Restore SQL Master Database

SysTools SQL Recovery Tool is an advance way to restore corrupt master database of SQL Server. One can also fix the damaged MDF (Primary database file) & NDF (Secondary database file) of any size.  It provides two scanning options to repair SQL Master Database i.e., Quick and Advanced Scan.

Download Now Purchase Now

Using this, one can recover Triggers, Rules, Functions, Tables, and Stored Procedures in SQL Server files. With the help of this utility, one can export the restored file in Live SQL Server Database or as SQL Server Compatible Scripts. The tool restore master database file of SQL Server  2019, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008 / 2008 R2, 2005, 2000.

Follow the below steps to simply get the desired results:

Step-1. Open the Software in the system to begin with the procedure.

open software

Step-2. Click on the Open button to Add MDF files here & proceed.

click open

Step-3. Now, Select the Scan Mode as Quick or Advance as needed.

click scan files

Step-4. Enter the Destination Platform along with Path to continue.

select destination

Step-5. Click Export/Save to recover master database SQL 2000, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, & 2022.

rebuild or restore SQL Server master database

Final Verdict

Master database is extremely important to operate the SQL server, as it holds all the primary configuration details of the SQL Server database. Sometimes when this database gets corrupted, users attempt to restore it. However, to execute restore SQL Server master database task is not that much easy as it appears to be. Consequently, users search for how to restore master database. In this post, we have focused on the same query and disclosed some easy solutions for the same.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q-1. How can I rebuild master database in SQL Server?

Ans: You can use the rebuild Wizard (Rebuildm.exe) which is located in the default user directory:

\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\BINN
Q-2. Can I rebuild deleted SQL Server database objects?

Ans: Yes, you can use the automated solution to recover deleted tables, stored procedures, functions and other database objects.

Q-3. How to recover master database in SQL Server if the LDF or log files are corrupted?

Ans: To fix the corruption issues in the log files, users can opt for the SQL Log analyzer solution to get the desired results.


By Ashwani Tiwari

Being a Chief Technical Analyst, I am aware of the technicalities faced by the user while working with multiple technologies. So, through my blogs and articles, I love to help all the users who face various challenges while dealing with technology.