Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to delete current SQL Server error log? My current log is in GBs.

In a continuous running SQL Server environment, it is not uncommon to see a large error log related to SQL Server that is continuously growing. Recently, a discussion happened on this as this particular environment had a very large error log which had consumed a lot of space in the partition, creating an issue related to space required to data files. Can we delete the error log?

By default, SQL Server maintains 7 error logs; current log and 6 backups of last files created. The current log has no extension and last backups have extensions starting from 1. This setting can be changed by clicking configure of SQL Server Logs folder in Object Explorer - Management if required. Files are located in standard SQL Server path: {partition}:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\{Instance}\MSSQL\Log.

Now if you try to delete the current log, you will get an error because it is being used by SQL Server. Therefore, you need to create a new file as the current log and make the current one as the last backup. The log file cycles with every restart of the SQL Server instance, making the current one as the last backup with extension 1 and creating a new one with no extension. With default setting, all other files starting from 1 to 6, become 2 to 5 and 6th file is deleted. If you cannot restart the service (if it is Production Environment), then this recycling can be manually done by calling sp_cycle_errorlog. This SP closes the current one and creates a new one. Once it is done, you can delete the large one, which is the one with extension 1 now.

EXEC sys.sp_cycle_errorlog;

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