Automating Transaction Log Backups for All SQL Server Databases

By:   |   Comments (7)   |   Related: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | > Backup


Maintenance plans are a great thing, but sometimes the end results are not what you expect.  The whole idea behind maintenance plans is to simplify repetitive maintenance tasks without you having to write any additional code.  For the most part maintenance plans work without a problem, but every once in awhile things do not go as planned. Two of the biggest uses of maintenance plans are issuing full backups and transaction log backups.  What other approaches are there to issue transaction log backups for all databases without using a maintenance plan?


With the use of T-SQL you can generate your transaction log backups and with the use of cursors you can cursor through all of your databases to back them up one by one. With the use of the DATABASEPROPERTYEX function we can also just address databases that are either in the FULL or BULK_LOGGED recovery model since you can not issue transaction log backups against databases in the SIMPLE recovery mode.

Here is the script that will allow you to backup the transaction log for each database within your instance of SQL Server that is either in the FULL or BULK_LOGGED recovery model.

You will need to change the @path to the appropriate backup directory and each backup file will take on the name of "DBname_YYYDDMM_HHMMSS.TRN".

DECLARE @name VARCHAR(50) -- database name   
DECLARE @path VARCHAR(256) -- path for backup files   
DECLARE @fileName VARCHAR(256) -- filename for backup   
DECLARE @fileDate VARCHAR(20) -- used for file name  

SET @path = 'C:\Backup\'   

   + '_'  
   + REPLACE(CONVERT(VARCHAR(20),GETDATE(),108),':','') 

SELECT name  
FROM master.dbo.sysdatabases  
WHERE name NOT IN ('master','model','msdb','tempdb')  

OPEN db_cursor    
FETCH NEXT FROM db_cursor INTO @name    

       SET @fileName = @path + @name + '_' + @fileDate + '.TRN'   
       BACKUP LOG @name TO DISK = @fileName   

       FETCH NEXT FROM db_cursor INTO @name    

CLOSE db_cursor    
DEALLOCATE db_cursor

In this script we are bypassing the system databases, but these could easily be included as well. You could also change this into a stored procedure and pass in a database name or if left NULL it backups all databases. Any way you choose to use it, this script gives you the starting point to simply backup all of your databases.

Next Steps
  • Add this script to your toolbox
  • Modify this script and make it a stored procedure to include one or many parameters
  • Create a scheduled task to backup your transaction logs on a set schedule
  • Take a look at this tip that does FULL backups for all databases.
  • Send your improved script to [email protected] and we will post it on the site for others to use

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Greg Robidoux Greg Robidoux is the President and founder of Edgewood Solutions, a technology services company delivering services and solutions for Microsoft SQL Server. He is also one of the co-founders of Greg has been working with SQL Server since 1999, has authored numerous database-related articles, and delivered several presentations related to SQL Server. Before SQL Server, he worked on many data platforms such as DB2, Oracle, Sybase, and Informix.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 9:16:41 AM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (88613)
Hi Millie,

Take a look at this article to see how much transaction log space is in use.

After you run the transaction log backups, you can refer to the scripts in the link to see what is being used.


Monday, April 26, 2021 - 6:43:10 PM - Millie Back To Top (88606)
I've been using this script for a few months, but I'm not sure it is truncating the transactions logs after the backup. Can someone verify this script DOES truncate? Otherwise, it's working perfectly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 8:27:10 AM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (51532)

Hi Yaasin, you could put this after the transaction log backup, but I wouldn't recommend that you do this after every log backup.

It would make more sense to create another job and look for logs that are large and then periodically shrink them.

Take a look at this article to find the logical file name as well as more about shrinking the transaction log.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 12:38:02 AM - yaasin Back To Top (51521)

 Hi Greg, grreat script - if I may ask a question, how or where can I inset a DBCC SHRINKFILE into that script to say 10MB


Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 1:00:26 PM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (28007)

Hi Allen, you can just change the path in the code to something like this:


Take a look at this older tip as well:

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 10:50:56 AM - Allen Lamb Back To Top (28005)

Do you route the maintenance plan output to the UNC path as well?

If so, can you show me how you do this?


thanks very much.




Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 10:23:11 AM - Netchem Back To Top (2698)

This script offers a big advantage over simply using the maintenance plan GUI to setup transaction log backups: in SQL Server 2005, if you edit a transaction log backup task, all of your settings in that task will clear, and if it encounters a failure, the entire task fails, whereas this script skips the offending DB and moves on to the others.

While this will get around transaction log backups failing due to do databases being set to SIMPLE recovery, it doesn't help with databases that haven't had a full backup created yet. Could someone show me how to modify this script to check for the existance of a full backup, and if it doesn't exist, create a full backup, then proceed with the transaction log backup for that database?

 Thank you!

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