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How to Export MDF File in SQL Server – Convert Database File Safely

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On November 12th, 2022
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

how to export MDF file in SQL server

Synopsis: Here, we’re going to look at the solutions to learn how to export MDF file in SQL server safely. A lot of users are fed up with having several difficulties in SQL server data migration tasks. However, when it’s about the export task, here things are different. There are cases when users already have database files in the SQL-compatible MDF files. They just need to upload these files to SQL Server. Therefore, this guide is going to solve all of their doubts.

Any core SQL task is something where users need to be technically wise. Without being proficient in SQL server scripts may have severely false effects on users. Now, to provide users with the best-in-class solution, we need to find a solution that can bypass this major issue. 

Technology is meant to make life easier rather than difficult. This is why we researched learning how to convert MDF file to SQL server directly.

In this article, users can learn how to move MDF file in SQL server using both manual & automated solutions. Moreover, there are the core reasons why users want to execute such data migration tasks. Without wasting any further time, let’s begin to solve all the hassles quickly & safely.

Why Learning How to Convert MDF File to SQL is Important?

There are several factors that make users go through this export task or other SQL migration tasks. For us, it’s crucial to know the right need of users in order to understand the entire scenario in depth. Before we look at the most advanced solutions, let’s quickly go through the reasons:

Server Upgrade – Users often want to upgrade their servers to the next level as they require the best server performance. There are several factors of server upgradation due to which users upgrade their SQL database servers.

  • Performance & Speed are one of the reasons why upgradation is necessary.
  • It’s important for us to update our Security Standards for making our data more safe. 
  • Users seek Better Pricing Plans in the new server that can be more efficient for them.
  • The modern-day Functions & Features help users utilize their server to the utmost potential.

Structural Changes – Mergers & Acquisition are one of the major changes in any organization. Hence, users need to learn how to export MDF file in SQL server. Here, the intention is to bring all the database files to the same platform. This is why users need to perform this task.

This case: In our case, we can say that users already have MDF file (Master Data File) of SQL server. Now, they just need to upload these files to the SQL server. Most of the time, the destination server is a higher one. However, in some cases, it can be equivalent to the existing one. And, in very few cases, users like to degrade their servers.

In all of the cases, they need to export the MDF data files to their desired SQL Server to get the desired results they are seeking.

How to Export MDF File in SQL Server Manually? What Are the Drawbacks

Here, users generally have two manual solutions available. However, none of them is direct. Let’s have a look at both of them here.

T-SQL Script Method to Execute the Task

Here, users need to be very well proficient in the T-SQL scripts. This way they can handle any mishappening. Moving forward, below is the command mentioned that users need to execute for exporting MDF files to SQL server:

USE [master]
create database <NameOfDatabase> ON
(name='LogicalName of the Data file', FileName='Data File Name'),
(name='LogicalName of the Log file', FileName='Log File Name')

SSMS Method to Learn How to Move MDF File in SQL Server

This method is a little bit easy. However, for this users need to have an active SQL Server in their current system along with SSMS(SQL Sever Management Studio). Below are the steps mentioned:

  • Launch SSMS & then Go to Connect >> Databases >> Right Click >> Attach button.

attach database

  • Locate Database files here & then move further to Select Database & Click the OK button.

Click Ok

Know How to Export MDF File in SQL Server Using Automated Methods

Now we know the manual method. However, there are plenty of severe drawbacks in the manual method. This is why users fail a lot in these complex methods full of errors. Now, as we know that the automated solution is quite advanced, we can simply focus on this to avoid all the major challenges that users have to face the other way.

Here, the automated solution involves the best-in-class SQL Server Migration Tool that can easily execute the entire operation, Moreover, there are several other features present in this tool for various data migration modes. Download the tool & then follow the below-mentioned steps to learn how to convert MDF file to SQL:

Download Now Purchase Now

Step-1. Launch the Tool & then Hit the Open button to begin the task.

step-1. how to export MDF file in SQL server

Step-2. Select the Offline Mode here & search for MDF Files in your system.

step-2. select offline mode

Step-3. Now, Preview the Database Objects & move to the export options now.

step-3 preview the database items

Step-4. Select the Export Options accordingly as per your preference to proceed.

step-4. select the export options

Step-5. Finally, Click on the Export button to finish off the task here to get desired results.

step-5. Finish learning how to export MDF file in SQL server

Also Read: How to Migrate SQL Server 2014 to 2019 Version Step by Step

Features of the Automated Solution

Now, that we know the automated solution is much better than all of the others, it’s time to know the features of this utility. For learning how to export MDF file in SQL server, these features help users a lot. Apart from these features, there is also AI integration in this tool making it more advanced.

  • Users can easily migrate their offline MDF files to live as well as offline SQL Servers safely.
  • It’s possible for users to migrate one live SQL server directly to another live SQL server.
  • This software can also move the live SQL database files to SQL-compatible scripts.
  • As per need, one can convert data files for a live server with schema or schema & data.
  • Users can either create a new database or move the database to an existing one too.
  • The tool can also migrate the data between SQL servers within the same network.
  • It is also possible to execute migration with damaged database SQL Server after repair.
  • Several filters for learning how to convert MDF file to SQL allow selective export.
  • SQL Server 2019, 2017, 2016, 2016, 2012, 2008, etc are compatible here.

The Final Say

Now we covered almost all of the major aspects required to get the task done. We can say that by following this guide, users can easily learn how to export MDF file in SQL server without any errors. Indeed, this solution is exactly what users need for their operations.

Yes, the selection of the right tool can be difficult. This is why the above-mentioned solution is what experts recommend. Therefore, we can state even IT experts & Microsoft’s MVPs also use this advanced utility to learn how to move MDF file in SQL server. Hence, you can also trust this.


By Ashwani Tiwari

I am an Expert Technical Analyst, specialized in assisting users with complex technological challenges. Through my blogs and articles, I offer expert guidance to help tackle these technical issues effectively. My true passion lies in providing valuable insights and simplifying complicated technicalities, enhancing user understanding and confidence.