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How to attach MDF without LDF

This post was last Updated on by Himanshu Tyagi to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.

Microsoft SQL Server is a Relational Database Management System supporting a variety of transaction processing or business intelligence developed by Microsoft.

It stores all the information of the SQL database- the transactional, business intelligence, application data, and others. It supports ANSI, the standard SQL (Structured Query Language), and stores multiple database data in three types of files- MDF, LDF, and NDF file.

However, users may sometimes encounter difficulties managing these files, which may become corrupted or damaged.

Sometimes, users cannot attach the files to the SQL Server. This means that there is an issue with one of the three SQL files that need to be repaired.

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So, let’s look at how to attach MDF without LDF.

Additional Tips: Know the complete steps to repair SQL database using DBCC CHECKDB commands.

How to Attach an MDF file without LDF file

There are primarily three methods to attach an MDF file without an LDF file.

  • Using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)
  • Attach MDF Without LDF using the TSQL query
  • By Using Stellar SQL Database Recovery Software

On the other hand, if none of the methods works or you are facing an MDF file corruption problem, then take the help of an SQL recovery tool to attach an MDF file easily.

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Method 1: Attach MDF File using SSMS

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is a built-in management environment for any SQL Server infrastructure and database. It also allows you to attach an MDF file to the SQL server by removing corrupt/damaged or missing data log files.

It is a more straightforward method that does not require technical expertise. SQL administrators and authorized users can use the interface to attach MDF files and remove corrupt or missing log files (not found status).

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Follow the steps below carefully to complete the procedure:

1. Start SQL Server Management Studio. From the left panel, go to Object Explorer, navigate to Databases and right-click. Then, click on Attach.

start sql server management studio

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2. A new page opens up on the screen. Click on Add to attach the database file.

attach databases

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3. As the dialogue box opens, you can locate or find the .mdf file. Once you find the MDF file, click on OK.

locate mdf file

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4. You can see that the MDF file gets added and the log file shows “not found.”

5. Select that log file and click on Remove to delete this file.

select log file and click on remove

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6. The log file gets removed. Click on OK, and now, attach only the MDF file.

attach mdf file

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Method 2- Attach MDF without LDF Using the TSQL query

Holding basic knowledge of SQL scripts, administrators can attach MDF without LDFfiles. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Launch Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Right-click on the SQL Server directory node and choose New Query from the menu.

microsoft sql server management studio - new query

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2. Write the T-SQL Script in the SQL query box- and attach the database to the SQL Server.


CREATE DATABASE <mdf file name> ON
(FILENAME = ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL14.SQLEXPRESS\MSSQL\Template Data\.mdf‘)

3. Next, click on Execute on the top.

execute t sql query in ms sql server management studio

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4. You’ll see the following result displayed on the screen after execution.

sql query executed

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Why may Manual Methods not work to Attach MDF without LDF?

When you adopt the above manual methods, you may assume to have answers to whether you can attach MDF without LDF. But, sometimes, these manual methods do not work. Also, note that the MDF file must be healthy for the above manual methods to work. However, here are some of the reasons why the manual methods may not work for you:

  • While running the script, users must have technical skills and knowledge.
  • Your MDF files could also become corrupted or damaged.
  • The process is time-consuming for users and necessitates patience.
  • For non-technical users, the steps are lengthy.

If these manual methods do not cut for you, Stellar SQL Database Repair will help you attach MDF without LDF.

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Method 3: Attach MDF File without LDF Using Stellar SQL Database Repair

If the separate MDF file is corrupted, none of the above methods will work. In that case, taking up an SQL Recovery tool is better. This software can assist you in scanning and repairing the MDF file.

Features of Stellar Repair for SQL

  • Recover all your SQL database file components, including tables, indexes, keys, rules, defaults, stored procedures, and functions.
  • Deleted records from an MDF file are recovered.
  • SQL Server 2019, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008, 2008 is supported (R2).
  • Microsoft MVPs from all over the world have tested and recommended the software.

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Troubleshooting Errors while Attaching MDF file without LDF file

You may encounter any of the following errors while attaching the database:

1. Access is denied due to a lack of authorization.

You may encounter the error “unable to open physical database file.” “Error 5 in the operating system: Access is denied.” This error occurs due to a lack of permissions on the database or log files. This can be corrected using any of the following methods:

Launch SQL Server management studio and connect to the database as an administrator.
Explicitly grant full control access to the database’s MDF and LDF files. Right-click the database files to do so. Choose the Security tab. Choose the appropriate user and give the user complete control.

If none of the previously mentioned methods work, copy the database files to the default database file locations. When we copy these files to the default database file location, the user is automatically granted the necessary permissions.

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2. Not able to Downgrade

If you get the “The database cannot be opened because it is version XXX” error while attaching it, ensure you’re not attaching the database files from the higher version SQL Server version to the lower version.

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Final Thoughts

This blog discussed various methods for attaching the MS SQL Server database without a log file. Attach a database without a transaction log file to a SQL Server instance using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS However, if the MDF file is lost or corrupt, Stellar Repair for MS SQL software can be used to repair the file and restore the SQL database.

Himanshu Tyagi
Himanshu Tyagi
Hello Friends! I am Himanshu, a hobbyist programmer, tech enthusiast, and digital content creator. Founder Cool SaaS Hunter. With CodeItBro, my mission is to promote coding and help people from non-tech backgrounds to learn this modern-age skill!

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