SQL Server Database in Recovery: Causes, Solutions, and Recommendations

This article provides an in-depth analysis of the SQL Server database in recovery problem, addressing its causes, solutions, and recommended software.

Nene Aly

By Nene Aly / Updated on March 5, 2024

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The SQL Server database in recovery issue can occur due to various factors, leaving your database inaccessible and causing potential data loss. Understanding the causes and having effective solutions is crucial for database administrators and developers.

The Problem: SQL Server Database in Recovery

When a SQL Server database goes into the 'In Recovery' state, it means that the database is being recovered after an unexpected shutdown or crash. During this process, the database remains unavailable for use, impacting both performance and user access.


1. System Failure:

A sudden system failure, such as a power outage or hardware failure, can cause the database to go into recovery mode. The system restarts and initiates the recovery process to ensure data consistency.

2. Log File Corruption:

In some cases, corruption in the transaction log file can trigger the database recovery process. This corruption can be caused by disk failures, software bugs, or faulty storage systems.

3. Database Mirroring:

If database mirroring is enabled, any interruption in the mirroring process can result in the database going into recovery mode to ensure synchronization between the primary and mirror databases.


Solution 1: Check Database Status

1. Open SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and connect to the SQL Server instance containing the affected database.

2. Execute the following query in a new query window:
tSELECT name, state_desc FROM sys.databases;

3. Look for the database in question and check its state. If it is in a 'RECOVERY_PENDING' or 'RECOVERY_IN_PROGRESS' state, it is undergoing the recovery process.

4. Wait for the recovery process to complete. You can monitor the progress in the SQL Server error log.

5. Once the database state changes to 'ONLINE,' it is accessible again.

Solution 2: Restart SQL Server Service

1. Open the SQL Server Configuration Manager.

2. Locate the SQL Server service that corresponds to the affected database.

3. Right-click on the service and select 'Restart' to initiate a restart of the service.

4. Monitor the SQL Server error log to ensure the recovery process completes successfully.

5. Verify the database state changes to 'ONLINE'.

Solution 3: Restore from a Backup

1. If the recovery process fails or takes an extended period, consider restoring the database from a recent backup.

2. Ensure you have a valid backup available.

3. Restore the backup using SQL Server Management Studio or T-SQL commands like 'RESTORE DATABASE'.

4. Once the restore process completes, check the database state, which should be 'ONLINE'.

Recommended Software: ApexSQL Recover


  • ApexSQL Recover provides advanced SQL Server database recovery capabilities.
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  • It can recover lost, deleted, or damaged data from both live and detached databases.
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  • Allows recovery from backups, native SQL Server scripts, and transaction log files.


  • Supports various recovery scenarios and levels of corruption.
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  • User-friendly interface with step-by-step recovery wizards.
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  • Provides the ability to preview recoverable objects before proceeding with recovery.


  • ApexSQL Recover is a paid software and may require a license for full functionality.
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  • Performance may vary depending on the size and complexity of the database being recovered.

FAQs: SQL Server Database Recovery

Q: How long does the database recovery process take?

A: The duration of the recovery process depends on various factors such as the size of the database, system resources, and the cause of the failure. It can range from a few minutes to several hours.

Q: Can I cancel the database recovery process?

A: It's recommended not to cancel the recovery process once it has started to avoid potential data corruption. Allow it to complete naturally.

Q: Can I access the database during the recovery process?

A: No, the database remains inaccessible until the recovery process completes and its state changes to 'ONLINE.'

Q: Should I perform regular backups to prevent database recovery scenarios?

A: Yes, regular backups are crucial for data protection and provide the ability to restore the database to a previous state in case of failures or corruption.

Q: How can I monitor the progress of the recovery process?

A: You can monitor the recovery progress by reviewing the SQL Server error log. It provides information regarding the recovery status and any potential errors encountered.

Q: Are there any tools to recover individual tables or specific data within the database?

A: Yes, there are tools like ApexSQL Recover that allow granular recovery options. You can recover specific tables or data within the database using such tools.

Technical Terms

1. Transaction Log: A transaction log is a file in a relational database that records all modifications made to the database. It helps in ensuring database integrity and provides a means to recover the database to a previous state.

2. Recovery Model: The recovery model defines the way SQL Server manages transaction log records and backups. It determines the availability of point-in-time recovery options and affects the frequency of database backups.

3. Mirroring: Database mirroring is a high-availability feature in SQL Server that provides redundancy by maintaining a standby copy of the database. It ensures failover capability and helps in minimizing downtime.


  • Regularly monitor SQL Server error logs to identify any early signs of database recovery issues.
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  • Implement a comprehensive backup strategy to minimize the impact of database recovery scenarios.
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  • Consider scheduling regular maintenance tasks, such as index rebuilds or integrity checks, to proactively prevent database corruptions.


The SQL Server database in recovery problem can be caused by various factors, including system failures, log file corruptions, and database mirroring issues. This article has provided comprehensive solutions, from checking database status to restoring from backups. The recommended software, ApexSQL Recover, offers advanced recovery capabilities. By understanding the causes, implementing solutions, and utilizing the recommended software, database administrators can effectively address SQL Server database recovery issues and ensure data availability.

Nene Aly
Nene Aly · Editor