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Difference between DELETE & TRUNCATE

Oct 27 2011 6:26AM by Robert Dennyson   


What is the different between delete and truncate?


Most of the interviewer will be satisfied with this answer.

  • TRUNCATE is a DDL command and DELETE is a DML command
  • Delete performs row by row, where as TRUNCATE performs at page level

If the interviewer needs more elaborative answer(Not frequently)


  • TRUNCATE is a DDL command
  • TRUNCATE TABLE always locks the table and page but not each row
  • Cannot use Where Condition
  • It Removes all the data
  • TRUNCATE TABLE cannot activate a trigger because the operation does not log individual row deletions.
  • Faster in performance wise, because it doesn’t keep any logs
  • Drop all object’s statistics and marks like High Water Mark free extents and leave the object really empty with the first extent. zero pages are left in the table
  • TRUNCATE TABLE removes the data by deallocating the data pages used to store the table data and records only the page deallocations in the transaction lo
  • If the table contains an identity column, the counter for that column is reset to the seed value that is defined for the column
  • Restrictions on using Truncate Statement
    1. Are referenced by a FOREIGN KEY constraint.
    2. Participate in an indexed view.
    3. Are published by using transactional replication or merge replication.


  • DELETE is a DML command
  • DELETE statement is executed using a row lock, each row in the table is locked for deletion
  • We can specify filters in where clause
  • It deletes specified data if where condition exists.
  • Delete activates a trigger because the operation are logged individually.
  • Slower than truncate because, it keeps logs
  • Rollback is possible
  • keeps object’s statistics and all allocated space. After a DELETE statement is executed, the table can still contain empty pages.
  • The DELETE statement removes rows one at a time and records an entry in the transaction log for each deleted row
  • DELETE retain the identity
  • Delete works at row level, thus row level constrains apply

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Published under: SQL Server Interview Questions ·  ·  ·  · 

Robert Dennyson
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