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Madhivanan's TSQL Blog

File paths in SQL Server

Jun 18 2012 12:00AM by Madhivanan   

Often you see people complaining that although the file exists in the directory, the code throws an error Operating system error 2(The system cannot find the file specified.). Ok. The following need the file path to be specified in the code

1 Backup/Restore a database
2 Attach a database file
3 Bulk Insert
4 BCP to a file
5 Accessing files (.txt,.csv,etc) via OPENROWSET like Export to Excel with column names

You need to be awared that the file path specified in your code is, by default, expected to be available in SERVER's physical directory and not in your LOCAL system's directory. Most of the newbies forget this and have the files in their local system and expect SQL Server to access the files. If you have files in your local system do either of these

1 Copy the files to SERVER's directory and run the code
2 Have files in your LOCAL system, let the SERVER has enough permission to access files from your local system and use UNC Path

Here is an example of how to let the SERVER use files from local system using UNC path. If you have backup file named test.bak in D directory of your local system named test, use the following code to restore it without copying it the Server's directory

restore database mydb from disk='\\test\D$\test.bak'

So be aware of this and next time when your code shows the non-availability of files, just think about the above.

Tags: #sql,#sqlserver,#tsql

2 · 40% · 13039



  • To the best of my knowledge, C$ or D$ indicate that these are administrative shares and access is not available to anyone except the administrator of the workstation/server, which means that in most cases, the SQL Server service would not be able to access it. Is that not a correct understanding?

    commented on Jun 18 2012 1:40AM
    Nakul Vachhrajani
    4 · 36% · 11648
  • I agree with Nakul - C$ / D$ indicate that there are administrative share and only admin users can use it.

    commented on Jun 18 2012 6:49AM
    Hardik Doshi
    20 · 9% · 2864
  • Well. I always used to use $ :)

    commented on Jun 19 2012 12:53AM
    2 · 40% · 13039
  • I have faced issue some time like parent folder is in readonly mode then also we got permission denied error. after unchecking readonly it works fine.

    commented on Jun 20 2012 12:06PM
    146 · 1% · 342
  • You can create a public share on your computer on the fly like this in DOS:

    net share backup=C:\MyBackups

    You can then connect with sqlcmd and do:

    backup database MyDatabase to disk='\MyComputer\backup\MyDatabase.bak' with stats=1

    Sometimes instead of MyComputer I have to put my IP address.

    At the end you do:

    net share backup /d

    No special privileges needed for this.

    commented on Jun 27 2012 1:59AM
    16 · 10% · 3269
  • Thats a good technique dishdy. Thanks

    commented on Jun 27 2012 2:04AM
    2 · 40% · 13039
  • Good one. Thanks for sharing dishdy

    commented on Jun 27 2012 2:11AM
    Hardik Doshi
    20 · 9% · 2864

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