read sql server transaction log file
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Superlative Ways to Read SQL Transaction Log File With Every Detail

If for any reasons – SQL Server administrator needs to read it requires an effective technique for it. One cannot open a file like a text file. Therefore, this blog tells you how to open & read SQL Transaction Log in SQL Server 2017 /2016 /2014 /2012 / 2008 /2005.

Multiple reasons such as terminated employee intentionally changes the database due to personal conflict with company before leaving the organization, the system and change or delete the data to damage the company prestige, apart from this, there are other situations provoke the user to read a SQL Server database log file and analyze which data gets changed by whom.

SQL Log Database Transaction File keeps track of every transaction event happened a database. Every single database has one Log file in Microsoft SQL Server. A deep analysis of a Log file can reveal various related to the transaction performed on a database.

However, it is not easy to view a log file without a dedicated application. In this article, we are going to tell some workarounds that let you know how to read SQL Server Transaction Log file painlessly.

So, let’s begin!

How to Open & Read MS SQL Server Transaction Log file

This section comprises two approaches whose motto is to view the records of a Transaction file of SQL Server. Just go through the both techniques and use the one that is more appropriate for you.

Method #1: Try Complex fn_dblog() Function to Read SQL Log

SQL Server itself has a function that is capable to open a .ldf file information in Microsoft SQL Server 2017 /2016 /2014 or below. This function named as fn_dblog(), an undocumented command, aim to open the transaction log records for current database. Besides this, the use of this function is against the database instance. Thus, user can use the fn_dblog() at their your own risk. Because it might be possible that Microsoft changes the structure of this command without any prior notice.

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The fn_dblog() function has two parameters. The first parameters describe the initial LSN number and the second one defines the last LSN number of SQL database transaction log file. User can mention the both parameter NULL to get every single value of the log file.

One can run the below query to read SQL Transaction log file.

SELECT * From fn_dblog(NULL, NULL)

To get a more specific result, then execute the below query in SQL Server Management Studio. Here we are going to display all the records related to dropped objects.

SELECT * FROM fn_dblog(NULL, NULL) WHERE [Transaction Name] = ‘DROPOBJ’

However, all the information will you receive in numbers. It becomes difficult for user to read SQL Transaction Log and analyze it. Hence, it is good to have a technique that can scan log file thoroughly and provide details in human readable format.

Method #2: Try Intelligent SQL Log Viewer Software

As we said above, every single T-SQL records saved in the .ldf file. It means it is a very important file for a database and we cannot afford any risk with it. It is better to use a reliable and trustworthy software, SysTools SQL Log Viewer Software to read SQL Transaction Log file.

It is a super easy and outstanding utility that easily operated by a mouse. No need to run any complex query. Simply upload a log file directly from a SQL Server database. Else, one can scan Transaction Log file without the assistance of SQL Server.

One can analyze the following information from SQL Server LDF file using software-

  • Name of the Transaction – Insert, Update, Delete
  • Login Name Information
  • Date & Time of Executed Query
  • Table Name
  • Used Query
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After analyzing the log file, one can export the file too. You can easily recover any query directly into SQL Server or SQL Server Compatible Scripts. With this software, one can easily analyse the log file of Microsoft SQL Server 2017 /2016 / 2014 / 2012 / 2008 /2005.

Moreover, one can specify the query and exclusively recover it instead of all the records. Date filter is also available for making the restore task more precious. This utility is used by forensic investigator to open, analyze and read MS SQL Server Transaction Log file. All-in-all, the entire process gets completed within few clicks and minimum span of time.

Final Thoughts

The problem can occur in any application at any time. You cannot deny it. Same happened in SQL Server application that leads to open and read SQL Transaction Log file. And, we cannot open it easily. Therefore, we have discussed two approaches for the same.

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