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How to Move MDF File in SQL Server – An Introduction

Published By Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On January 10th, 2024
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading
Category SQL Server
move MDF and NDF files in SQL server

Abstract: This blog is all about users learning how to move MDF file in SQL server databases with ease. Users have to face several difficulties in order to get the best-in-class results. However, not all the solutions are good enough for users to get the desired outcome. Therefore, In this guide both manual, as well as automated solutions, are mentioned with their advantages as well as disadvantages.

Yes, we agree that an SQL server is indeed a quality RDBMS. A user wants to learn how to move MDF file in SQL server due to several reasons. Either they want to upgrade from an old server to a new one by moving the files of the old server to the new one. For this, speed, performance, functions, security & cost can be the reason for the upgradation. Let’s quickly go through the challenges to be aware of the challenges that you might face in your SQL server operations.

Challenges In Learning How to Move MDF File In SQL Server Database

There are several challenges waiting for users to get the task done. Some of them are usual whereas some are quite major. It’s crucial for users to be aware of these critical challenges in advance to prepare for them. This way they can easily get rid of them at the time of their operation.

Lack of Technical Knowledge

There are basically a lot of users that go through the problem of lack of knowledge. Without core technical knowledge & T-SQL commands, it’s difficult to execute the manual method.

SQL Database Objects Corruption

Now, moving forward, we can say that corruption in the database objects is the most common problem for users. Users need to repair the corruption before the SQL server migration task.

Compatibility Issues of SQL Server

There is no surety that the SQL server MDF files data from a particular server is compatible with the other one or not. This is why data compatibility issues are one of the major issues.

Method and Tool Selection Confusion

Last but not least, the selection of the right tool & technique is what users need to figure out. Where the right tool can provide desired results, the wrong one can have severe results.

Automated Solution to Counter Challenges & Provide Results

Let’s quickly go through the best-automated approach that is capable of providing the desired results. Here, users need to download the best SQL Database Migration Tools & then move forward.

Download Now Purchase Now

After downloading the automated tool, simply follow the below steps to learn how to move MDF file in SQL server database.

Step-1. Launch Tool & then Go to the Open option.


Step-2. Now Select the Online or Offline Mode here.

select mode

Step-3. Preview the Database Objects & move further.

preview opjects

Step-4. Set the Export Options as per your requirements.

set export options

Step-5. Finally, Click on the Export button to finish the task.

move MDF and NDF files in SQL server


  • Four migration modes are available.
  • Option to repair the database objects.
  • Moves almost all the database objects.
  • Migrate the schema & schema with data.
  • Create a new database for moving data files.
  • Migrates data to an existing database as well.
  • Supports SQL server version from 2000 to 2022.

Know How to Move MDF File in SQL Server Manually

We get a lot of user queries asking about the manual solution. There are a lot of doubts about this manual method among users. Hence, let’s clear all the doubts regarding it.

First of all, there is no direct manual solution available for users to get the best solution. Now, moving forward, we can say that there is no possible solution available for users through which they can execute this task manually in one go.

The manual method is a set of three different tasks combined together that all needs to be executed using the T-SQL commands. Below are the three tasks or phases mentioned in detail.

Step-#1: The very first step for users is to simply repair the databases with corrupted damaged objects. As we know that such objects are a huge hurdle in learning how to move MDF file in SQL server databases.

Step-#2: The second step for users is to take the full backup of the database. This can be done in the MDF files or in SQL-compatible scripts. Users can skip this phase if they already have the MDF files. 

Step-#3: The final phase is to export the MDF files in the live SQL server. Remember, that for all of these three tasks, T-Sql query language plays a crucial role.

Also Read: Must Check Out the Best SQL Recovery Tools As Well

The Final Verdict

Finally, users need to be clear that not all the solutions are reliable. The automated method for learning how to move MDF file in SQL server is quite advanced & there’s no way users can get any better options.

Moreover, the automated solution comes with the integration of AI & has multiple filters & features. This helps users in the selective migration of the entire operation.