Recover Deleted Data from SQL Server

So you or one of your database users have deleted some rows in your SQL Server database. They have now determined the rows were deleted in error, and you need to know how to get those rows back with the minimal amount of work and in the shortest period of time possible.

There are a few ways to go about this process, and you are not the first person that needs to complete these steps.

The easiest way is to buy a utility that will facilitate the steps and hopefully automate the process to make it as easy and painless as possible. That is possible and the products are Quest LiteSpeed, Red Gate SQL Backup, or Idera SQLSafe. You can even use utilities like Quest LiteSpeed or Apex SQL Log to help read through the logs and identify the deleted records for you. There is a StackExchange question on this topic with a great answer from Brent Ozar.

The more difficult way is to manually read through the logs and convert them from the default hexadecimal to a readable format. There is a great article by Muhammad Imran on this subject.

My advice is to determine if this is a topic you are concerned about first, then test the process a few times to make sure the path you have chosen actually works. The issue is obvious, if you wait until you have records to “undelete”, the process will take longer than expected and the work will be much harder to complete. The other serious risk is the records may not be recoverable.

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