How to Repair MDF File in SQL Server Using Top Two Solutions

Written By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On March 29th, 2024
Reading Time 10 Minutes Reading

Repair MDF File

MDF File which is the master database file is the primary data source of the SQL Server. Now, users often come up with queries & asks to repair MDF file in SQL Server. When we look deeper into this scenario, we can find out that there could be several reasons for the corruption. Moreover, various solutions for the same are there as well.

In this guide, we are going to explore manual & modern solutions along with their respective benefits & drawbacks. Before we step in, let’s go through some of the user queries explaining their miseries about this issue.

Hey there, I was trying to run some operations in a running SQL Server. I don’t know how but my MDF files are now corrupted & I don’t have any NDF file or backup data. Please suggest any solution for the damaged MDF file repair task to me. I’ll  appreciate any help in this case.
James Shelby, USA

I just realized my MDF files are corrupted & I don’t even know what’s wrong. Please help me fix the database anyhow. I just want to know how to repair SQL MDF file in the easiest manner possible. I’m ready to purchase any tool but all I need is my database back in a healthy state.
Henry Clark, USA

Need to Repair SQL MDF File – Reasons for Corrupted MDF

First of all, let’s understand what an MDF file is. It will make things easier for us further. So, the MDF file in SQL Server is the primary or master database file that contains both data & database schema. Therefore, it is so valuable. It holds all the SQL objects like tables, triggers, views, rules, functions, stored procedures, etc.

There can be several reasons being a damaged MDF file. We can classify the reasons into Logical & Technical parts as shown below: 

Logical Reasons for Corruption of MDF File

  • Using SQL Database with a compressed file is a common reason.
  • Improper upgrade of the server also results in corruption of files.
  • The MDF file gets corrupted in case the file header is damaged.
  • Damages to the storage medium where the MDF file is stored.
  • Network errors occur in the middle of a running SQL Server. 
  • Hard drive failure, sudden power failures, virus attacks, etc.

Learn How to Repair MDF File Due to Technical Reasons

  • Not enough space in the drive where MDF file is stored. Without the NDF file, the primary database will get no space to store data & will surely get corrupted.
  • If a user tries to copy data in a running SQL Server, the MDF file might get corrupted. Moreover, the commencement of any operation in a running SQL server is risky.
  • In case the LOG file or the LDF file is already corrupted, it will affect in damaging the MDF file as well. This is due to the inter-relations of both these files.
  • In the 2000s, when the Jet engine crashes issues were quite common. Similarly, when the SQL Server search engine crashes, the MDF files also get corrupted.
  • Change of Service Account password but not updated in the SQL Server is also a major reason for damage in the master database file of the SQL server.
  • When startup parameters have incorrect file path locations, it is likely to result in a corrupt master database file of the SQL Server.

Also Read: How to Check Database Corruption in SQL Server Safely?

Repair MDF File with Manual Solutions – All the Options We Have

Most of the users often try to get a manual solution as in their opinion, it’s a free as well as an easy way. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more that users need to know about the manual solution.

First of all, there are two manual solutions available for users:

  • DBCC CHCEKDB Command
  • Recovery from Backup File

Now, most users do not have any backup files & this is why they often get stressed. if hey have backup, they can restore SQL Server database from MDF files easily. In case, users are equipped with a backup file, they can imply restore their database using that backup.

On the other hand, if users do not possess the backup file, they need to learn how to repair SQL MDF file using the DBCC command. Let’s explore this solution along with its drawbacks followed by the experts’ trusted automated solution.

Also Read: Fix Error 3702 : Triggers and Stored Procedures in SQL Database

DBCC CHECKDB Command for Damaged MDF Repair

If users are very well proficient with the commands of SQL Server, they can simply use the DBCC command line method. Follow the below-mentioned steps to learn this method in-depth. Also, this solution has several disadvantages, so go through them as well before opting for this.

Step-1. First of all, users need to set their database in a single-user mode. For that they can use the below command:


Step-2. Run the DBCC CHECKDB command on the server.

DBCC CHECKDB ('database_name')

Step-3. Verify the Index ID based on these two scenarios:

  • Index ID greater than 1 – Drop it & create it again.
  • Index ID is 0 or 1 – run the command again to repair MDF file easily.

Step-4. Select the Repair type from the following commands:


This command is basically meant to fix the database in detail but there is a high risk of data loss. That is because it deletes the entire damaged section in spite of fixing it. Thus, it is risky to opt for this solution.


The REBUILD is the solution for users who try to fix the entire database files without any data loss. However, this is the exact reason why this command is slow like a snail. It takes quite a long to & does not guarantee 100% results to repair SQL MDF file safely.

DBCC CHECKDB ('database_name', REPAIR_FAST);

Last but not least, the FAST command is to quickly repair the damaged MDF file. It is only meant to repair the files that are not highly corrupted. This can only fix small corruption issues but very fast.

Step-5. Set the database in Multi-user mode.


Drawbacks of the Manual Solution – Why DBCC CHECKDB Is Not Ideal

The manual solution comes with several drawbacks that users need to be aware of. Make sure to know these shortcomings before adopting this method to get the database files back in a healthy state.

  • The manual solution is quite complex & involves multiple steps that are enough for users to make any mistakes in the process.
  • New users won’t be able to execute the entire manual solution as they are not technically proficient in the commands.
  • The DBCC solution does not guarantee any results which means users can fail to repair MDF file in the SQL Server.
  • When it comes to the estimated time, the manual solution can take longer durations to fix the files. This also depends on the file size & the repair type command.

How to Repair SQL MDF File Using An Advanced Tool

In order to counter the drawbacks of the manual method & execute the entire damaged MDF repair task safely, an automated solution is reliable. SysTools SQL Recovery Tool is the most refined solution for users to easily repair MDF file in SQL Server.

After downloading the tool, simply follow the below steps & fix your data without any error within the deadline.

Step-1. Launch the Automated Tool in your system & activate the license.

launch tool

Step-2. Click on the Open button & then Add the damaged MDF files. 

add MDF

Step-3. Set the Quick or Advance Scan mode to repair SQL MDF file.


Step-4. Enter Destination database & Server to export healthy files. 

enter destination

Step-5. Hit the Export button for damaged MDF repair & export.

click export to repair MDF file

Modern Tool Features to Repair Corrupted MDF File

We just saw how easy it is to fix damaged or corrupted MDF files with this tool. It’s time for us to explore the features of this tool in depth.

  • Easily repairs MDF & NDF files with high-level corruption in them.
  • It is possible to fix & restore the deleted records in the SQL table.
  • Corrects tables, triggers, stored procedures, rules, functions, views, etc.
  • Export MDFs to a new or existing database in SQL after repairing them.
  • Export the MDF file to SQL Server, CSV file, or SQL-compatible scripts.
  • Possess various advanced features like date filter, generating reports, etc.
  • Supports SQL Server 2022, 2019, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008, 2008 R2, 20058, & 2000 versions. 

Also Read: SQL Server Error 3414 Solution in Easy Steps

Tool Specs & System Requirements

Before we proceed further, it’s quite crucial for us to understand the system requirements for this tool. In addition, the tool specs are equally important for users to understand.

Software Specification:

  • .exe File Size – 7.01 MB
  • Latest Version – 13.2

System Requirements:

  • RAM – 4GB
  • Disk Space – 100GB
  • Processor/CPU – 1GHz Minimum (2.4 GHz Recommended)

Trial Version Restrictions:

The software’s trial version only allows users to learn how to repair SQL MDF file for just 25 records from each table or 5 other objects as well.


  • Microsoft .NET Framework 5.0 or above than that.
  • Run Tool as an administrator.

Also Read: Fix SQL Server Error 945 without Hassles

Best Tips to Counter All Errors in the Repair Task

Now, we are all aware of the possible solutions, as well as their advantages & shortcomings for damaged MDF repair tasks. Before we conclude this article, knowing some tips & tricks to eliminate all the errors can be helpful.

Below are some of the tips for users to get rid of all the issues & errors while repairing their SQL MDF files.

  • Keep track of your MDF file & its storage location to make sure it’s healthy.
  • Diverse tools in use for storing & accessing data files is one major key point.
  • Make sure you create the NDF files to back up your database in emergencies.
  • Disable the data transfer parameters while you repair SQL MDF file in your system.
  • Try to avoid the Non-Unicode data type. However, go for the Uni-code type for sure.
  • Make it a habit to store the data in a binary file type in order to avoid any errors later.

In A Nutshell

Finally, now, users can easily repair MDF file without any hassles using the mentioned stated above. Both manual and automated solutions work fine but there’s a massive difference between these two. For 100% guaranteed error-free results, the SysTools automated solution is what users need. It just makes the entire process smooth & eliminates the risks present in the automated solution.


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a writer, researcher, and editor. Cyber ​​security and digital forensics are the two subjects that keep Mohit out of his seat. In addition, he hopes that the well-researched and thought-out articles he finds will help people learn.