5 Things You Must Know about MDF and LDF Files in an SQL Server

5 Things You Must Know about MDF and LDF Files in an SQL Server

Every business requires a system for storing and retrieving data. The information could be related to market research, customer details, accounts data, supply inventory info, and more. Organizations store their data and also retrieve the same using databases. Data is also stored owing to legal reasons and so according to an article published in Entrepreneur, numerous small businesses archive email messages that are more than five years old

A majority of businesses employ Microsoft SQL servers to store and manage data, thus making it one of the most commonly used programs worldwide. In every database, you’ll come across a file called MDF, while the other is LDF. Here are five things you must know about MDF files in the server. 

  1. Identifying an MDF file 

The SQL server holds as well as stores all information in two different file extensions and that too automatically developed during the database development period. The two files as you know are MDF and LDF, both essential for data retrieval as well as backup. If MDF files become corrupt, it becomes challenging to access databases. So, for figuring out where the crucial database files are kept, it is imperative to detect the MDF file’s exact location. You may access the file by using the below T-SQL command: 

USE master;


name ‘Logical Name’,

physical_name ‘File Location’

FROM sys. master_files;

It is a command to help you get all information related to log files as well as data files. 

  1. Information within LDF and MDF files

LDF denotes Log Database File storing information relevant to transaction logs for the key data file. The data that LDF files store include the date or time of change, info related to the user making the changes, and particulars of the changes done. Data relevant to computer stations where changes occur is also stored in these logs. 

LDF ensures variations related to insertions, removal, updates, as well as inclusions. Transaction logs that are in the server help in recognizing actions related to unauthorized changes as well as where some mistake is occurring. Log data can occasionally be useful in repairing errors, recovering essential information, and identifying irregularities.

MDF means Master Database File containing all vital information related to the database, which is part of the SQL server. The extension also directs to several additional files. The MDF file plays a significant role when it comes to data storage. Moreover, it’s quite essential for safe as well as secure data management. When the file becomes corrupt, an MDF recovery process is implemented to recover the same. When you do so efficiently, it saves your crucial data from being lost. 

  1. Significance in the database backup and restoration

These two are file extensions used in Microsoft SQL. These files get automatically 

The LDF and MDF are nothing but file extensions in MS SQL and they’re automatically created during the database creation phase. These files also share a similar storage location. The importance of these files is because they’re part of the backup as well as the recovery process. In layman’s language, if there are any database issues, both MDF and LDF are used by the administrator for reinstating and recuperating your business’s corrupt or lost data. 

  1. Advantages of the MDF file recovery tool

The MDF file recovery software is nothing but a Windows-based application well-suited to all Windows versions. The software comes with cutting-edge scanning features that help in recuperating and restoring all information damaged by serious virus attacks. The key benefits of MDF file recovery tools are: 

  • The tool allows the skimming of numerous .ndf files at the same time.
  • It provides dual scanning methods to recuperate the files.
  • The software also offers retrieval support for corrupt or damaged .mdf as well as .ndf files.
  • When you do not know about the preferred location, this tool mechanically chooses the NDF files.
  • The tool also ensures support for recovering as well as exporting files to databases or saving them in appropriate SQL scripts.
  • It robotically chooses the type that is perfectly suitable for the SQL server when it comes to .mdf files.
  • The tool enables exporting schema exclusively or schema and data together.
  1. SQL operations in which LDF plays a crucial role

Largely, the LDF files are significant in three key SQL processes. These are: 

  • Recuperating unfinished transactions when the server has started
  • Recuperating the database during failures
  • Recuperating distinct transactions


Now that you have essential information related to MDF and LDF files, it will help you know about these files, their significance, benefits, and their role in reinstating as well as recovering corrupt or damaged data. The importance of MDF/LDF files can’t be undermined as both these files help in recovering sensitive data essential for businesses and clients. Read through the pointers in the article for a better understanding of the concept for more clarity. 

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