SQL Database Repair

A database is simply information that is stored in a particular manner. This information can be manipulated and displayed for some useful purpose.

Databases today are primarily relational databases. A popular relational database is Microsoft SQL which is widely used by many organizations. A relational database not only contains the information but enables a user to view this information through various filters.

A user can view information based on various criteria such as date, location, size, address or other classifications. The criteria or filters that can be used are infinite. The data is stored in indexes and tables that have a relation to each other thus creating a relational database.

MS SQL stores the data with a .mdf extension which stands for Master Data File. Like any other form of data stored on a computer system they're subject corruption which can cause a database failure.

Failures that can occur include broken relationships, corrupted tables, deleted data, hard drive failure or natural catastrophes such as fire or water damage.

The first line of defense against data loss is a built in tool for MS SQL called DBCC CHECDB. This is a command that runs a check on all elements of a database and reports any errors. It will also attempt to repair the database but the best fix is to run a current backup if available. This utility should only be used for minor repairs as more data loss could occur.

In the event of the more serious failures mentioned earlier such as hard drives, damaged media or I/O errors professional data recovery services should be contacted.

There are hundreds of companies that claim quick and easy recovery of your database files by trained experts. As with any other product or service, do a preliminary check on the chosen service provider. Compare prices and like services. Attempt to speak to the provider's past customers if possible.

A reputable company should follow certain procedures. The first step should be an evaluation of the problem. The majority of the providers will ask that the hard drive be sent to them. The drive could also have failed and needs the data recovered from it as a first step.

In cases where the drive can't be sent, there is usually the option to upload the corrupted files. The data can also be sent on other types of media if necessary.

After the evaluation, the customer should be informed on how much data can be recovered. The amount of time required and given a cost estimate should be included. At this point, a decision can be made on whether to proceed with the recovery process.

After the recovery is completed, the provider should supply information on what and how much data was recovered. Most providers will return the recovered data on the choice of media the customer prefer.

Software Based Repair

Database recovery can be performed by professionals but there are also software solutions available for database repair.

It should be noted that for serious issues or someone not familiar with database recovery software a professional service is recommended.

As with service providers there are hundreds of software applications that claim quick and easy database repair at the click of a mouse. If you decide to attempt database recovery using software contact the company for the software you have chosen and ask any questions that may concern you. In this scenario it's almost a must to contact past customers or users of the software to evaluate their experience with the software and evaluate your capabilities.

Below is an abbreviated example of the data recovery process for Recovery Toolbox for SQL a typical SQL database repair software package.

1. Open the application and look at the preview screen that shows all data types that can be extracted and repaired. This data can include standard data, user defined or other types of data. This screen also lists various views and functions available to the user.

2. Once you've viewed the screen you can select what data you want to recover and how you want it saved. Here you have choices to save to a hard drive as an SQL script or import directly into another database.

3. Start the database repair process. The software will scan the database for all recoverable data and run the fix process. The software manufacturer also notes that all data may not be recoverable especially if it's heavily damaged.

4. The software will show the results of recovery process.

Although the example may seem simple, it may not be that easy. If data recovery software is the selected option someone with experience with that particular software package should be doing the recovery. As suggested earlier if there are any doubts about the procedure contact a professional.

Whether it's by a professional service or with recovery software, don't panic. Today's advanced techniques have made high database recovery rates the norm.