Solutions For How to Read SQL Server Transaction Log File Without Any Fail

Nowadays, to manage the database, the most reliable application is Microsoft SQL Server. It is one of the proficient database management system used by many users across the globe.

However, sometimes there is a need arise where user needs to view Log file of SQL Server to analyze each transaction records happened in the database. Every database has its own .ldf file.

Although, this process is not as easy as opening a notepad file. Because the SQL Server saves all the transaction information in a non-human readable language in LDF file format.

So, after considering this issue, we have come up with this blog. Here we are going to show how to read SQL Server Transaction Log file in SQL Server 2017 / 2016 / 2014 / 2012 / 2008 / 2008 R2 / 2005.

So, let’s begin

Techniques For How to View SQL Server Log File

In the following section, we will illustrate two different approaches that let you open and read the log file events. Go through both the solutions and get the answer of how to read SQL Server database Transaction log file.

#Approach 1: Hassle-Free Way to Access SQL Server Transaction Log file

If the user does not want to compromise with the Log file information and view the transaction details in human-readable format then, it is better to use SysTools SQL Transaction Log Viewer Software. This tool efficiently scans and read each transaction of SQL Log file – Insert, Update, Delete and display on the software interface. So, the users can easily analyse the changes occurs in the table records.

With the help of this utility, you can deeply analyze the SQL log file with or without Microsoft SQL Server application. Apart from this, you can recover the original record with the help of this software in SQL Server Environment, SQL Server Compatible Scripts, and CSV format. All-in-all, the utility can read SQL Log file of Microsoft SQL Server 2017 / 2016 / 2014 / 2012 / 2008 / 2005.

#Approach 2: Use Undocumented fn_dblog() to Read SQL Server Transaction Log File

There is another way to view the database Log file i.e., Fn_dblog(). This function is used to read the event happened on a database using LDF file in SQL Server Management Studio. Let’s go through this function working and know how to read SQL Server database Transaction Log file.

Execute the fn_dblog() as per the requirement. For example, to check all the logs such as Delete, Update and other, run the below statement in SQL Server.

Select [Begin Time], [Transaction Name] from fn_dblog(null, null)

There are some limitations attached to the SQL Server fn_dblog(). This function only returns the time of query when it was executed rather than data value that was modified. Due to this limitation, it becomes impossible to analyze which database table was changed. However, this problem is resolved by the above-mentioned method. Adding to it, with this technique, the user cannot read the log file without SQL Server Management Studio.

Bottom Line

There are various situations such as log file forensics and so on where there is a requirement to view the content of SQL LDF file. To do this, there is a need for some professional technique that can deal with SQL Server Transaction file without altering its database. Therefore, we have discussed the comprehensive techniques on how to read SQL Server database Transaction Log file. Go through the above workarounds and view SQL .ldf log file.


Do you want to learn Microsoft SQL Server DBA Tutorials for Beginners, then read the following articles.

About Jackson Andrew

I am SQL Server database administrator having 9+ years of Experience in SQL Database management. I love to share my knowledge of SQL server related problems.

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