Moving the Tempdb and Master Database in SQL Server

There have been many occasions
where I found it necessary to move the database and log files to different
drives to increase performance. When you want to
move a typical user database to a different drive for performance or to split
out the logs, you run sp_detach and
sp_attach to perform the move. However, when it comes to moving the Master and Tempdb
database, different rules
apply. In this article, we are going to walk you through the process of moving
these databases.

Moving the Master Database

There have been occasions
where I needed to move the master database log file to a different driver or I
needed to move the Master database to a
different drive. If you ever have to perform this function, follow these rules
to move the master database successfully. First,
right-click on SQL Server in Enterprise Manager (EM) and choose Properties.
Next, click the Startup Parameters as shown in
Figure A. As you can see in Figure A, the following parameters appear in this

-d is the fully qualified path for the master database data file.
-e is the fully qualified path for the error log file.
-l is the fully qualified path for the master database log

Now, if you want to move your files you would remove the
current entry and recreate your new entry with the correct path.
For example, I am going to move the Master database log to
C:\test\. At this point, I would delete the -l [path] by
highlighting the old parameter and choosing remove (See Figure
B). Next, I would add the following entry, (See Figure C),
-l C:\test\mastlog.ldf and click OK
twice. Now, you will stop SQL Server and move the mastlog.ldf to its new location.

Note: Please
make sure you move the mastlog.ldf to the location you configured in your
startup parameters. If you move it to a location that is not specified in the
startup parameters, SQL Server WILL NOT start.

Finally, start SQL Server and you have successfully moved
your Master database as shown in Figure D.

Figure A:

Click the Startup Parameter to move your Master database.

Figure B:

Click Remove to remove a parameter that you want to edit.

Figure C:

Add a new Parameter and click Add.

Figure D:

The new location of the Master log file.

Moving Tempdb

In order to move the tempdb database, open query analyzer
and run the following query:

use master
Alter database tempdb modify file (name = tempdev, filename = ‘E:\Sqldata\tempdb.mdf’)
Alter database tempdb modify file (name = templog, filename = ‘E:\Sqldata\templog.ldf’)

Depending on where you are moving Tempdb is where you will
specify the filename=parameter. I am going to move

the templog to c:\test as shown in Figure E. After running
the query, delete the old file after restarting SQL Server.

Figure E:

Use Query Analyzer to move your tempdb database.

Moving MSDB Database

In order to move the MSDB and Model
database, follow these steps. First, right-click the SQL-Server name and click
properties. From the General tab, choose your startup parameters. Next, enter
the parameter -T3608. Click OK, stop and restart SQL Server. After the restart,
detach the database and move them to their appropriate place.

End Sum

your drive space is getting tight and you need to move your system database
files to different drives, following these simple procedures will allow you to
move your databases efficiently and with confidence.


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Steven S. Warren

Steven Warren
Steven Warren
Steven S. Warren is a popular author residing in Winter Haven, Florida with his wife Danna and 2 children: Catie-Charlotte and Dain. As a columnist on such well-known IT web sites as, CNET, and ZDNET, Steven has published numerous articles. Additionally, Steven holds the following certifications: MCDBA, MCSE, MCSA, CCA, CIW-SA, CIW-MA, Network+, and I-Net+. As a Senior Technical Consultant for The Ultimate Software Group, Steven has become an expert at administering Microsoft networks including Microsoft SQL Server. He is also a computer hardware and troubleshooting expert, and is constantly seeking out new technologies and certifications. Additionally, Microsoft recently awarded him the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding achievements. Steven resides in Winter Haven, Fl.

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