Shrink the tempdb database

Applies to: SQL Server Azure SQL Managed Instance

This article discusses various methods that you can use to shrink the tempdb database in SQL Server.

You can use any of the following methods to alter the size of tempdb. The first three options are described in this article. If you want to use SQL Server Management Studio, follow the instructions in Shrink a database.

Method Requires restart? More information
ALTER DATABASE Yes Gives complete control on the size of the default tempdb files (tempdev and templog).
DBCC SHRINKDATABASE No Operates at database level.
DBCC SHRINKFILE No Lets you shrink individual files.
SQL Server Management Studio No Shrink database files through a graphical user interface.


By default, the tempdb database is configured to autogrow as needed. Therefore, this database may unexpectedly grow in time to a size larger than the desired size. Larger tempdb database sizes won't adversely affect the performance of SQL Server.

When SQL Server starts, tempdb is re-created by using a copy of the model database, and tempdb is reset to its last configured size. The configured size is the last explicit size that was set by using a file size changing operation such as ALTER DATABASE that uses the MODIFY FILE option or the DBCC SHRINKFILE or DBCC SHRINKDATABASE statements. Therefore, unless you have to use different values or obtain immediate resolution to a large tempdb database, you can wait for the next restart of the SQL Server service for the size to decrease.

You can shrink tempdb while tempdb activity is ongoing. However, you may encounter other errors such as blocking, deadlocks, and so on, that can prevent shrink from completing. Therefore, in order to make sure that a shrink of tempdb succeeds, we recommend that you do this while the server is in single-user mode or when you have stopped all tempdb activity.

SQL Server records only enough information in the tempdb transaction log to roll back a transaction, but not to redo transactions during database recovery. This feature increases the performance of INSERT statements in tempdb. Additionally, you don't have to log information to redo any transactions because tempdb is re-created every time that you restart SQL Server. Therefore, it has no transactions to roll forward or to roll back.

For more information about managing and monitoring tempdb, see Capacity planning and Monitor tempdb use.

Use the ALTER DATABASE command


This command operates only on the default tempdb logical files tempdev and templog. If more files are added to tempdb, you can shrink them after you restart SQL Server as a service. All tempdb files are re-created during startup. However, they are empty and can be removed. To remove additional files in tempdb, use the ALTER DATABASE command with the REMOVE FILE option.

This method requires you to restart SQL Server.

  1. Stop SQL Server.

  2. At a command prompt, start the instance in minimum configuration mode. To do this, follow these steps:

    1. At a command prompt, change to the folder where SQL Server is installed (replace <VersionNumber> and <InstanceName> in the following example):

      cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL<VersionNumber>.<InstanceName>\MSSQL\Binn
    2. If the instance is a named instance of SQL Server, run the following command (replace <InstanceName> in the following example):

      sqlservr.exe -s <InstanceName> -c -f -mSQLCMD
    3. If the instance is the default instance of SQL Server, run the following command:

      sqlservr -c -f -mSQLCMD


      The -c and -f parameters cause SQL Server to start in a minimum configuration mode that has a tempdb size of 1 MB for the data file, and 0.5 MB for the log file. The -mSQLCMD parameter prevents any other application than sqlcmd from taking over the single-user connection.

  3. Connect to SQL Server with sqlcmd, and then run the following Transact-SQL commands. Replace <target_size_in_MB> with the desired size:

    (NAME = 'tempdev', SIZE = <target_size_in_MB>);
    (NAME = 'templog', SIZE = <target_size_in_MB>);
  4. Stop SQL Server. To do this, press Ctrl+C at the Command Prompt window, restart SQL Server as a service, and then verify the size of the tempdb.mdf and templog.ldf files.


DBCC SHRINKDATABASE receives the parameter target_percent. This is the desired percentage of free space left in the database file after the database is shrunk. If you use DBCC SHRINKDATABASE, you may have to restart SQL Server.

  1. Determine the space that is currently used in tempdb by using the sp_spaceused stored procedure. Then, calculate the percentage of free space that is left for use as a parameter to DBCC SHRINKDATABASE. This calculation is based on the desired database size.


    In some cases, you may have to execute sp_spaceused @updateusage = true to recalculate the space that is used and to obtain an updated report. For more information, see sp_spaceused (Transact-SQL).

    Consider the following example:

    Assume that tempdb has two files: the primary data file (tempdb.mdf) that is 1024 MB and the log file (tempdb.ldf) that is 360 MB. Assume that sp_spaceused reports that the primary data file contains 600 MB of data. Also, assume that you want to shrink the primary data file to 800 MB. Calculate the desired percentage of free space left after the shrink: 800 MB - 600 MB = 200 MB. Now, divide 200 MB by 800 MB = 25 percent, and that is your target_percent. The transaction log file is shrunk accordingly, leaving 25 percent or 200 MB of space free after the database is shrunk.

  2. Connect to SQL Server with SQL Server Management Studio, Azure Data Studio, or sqlcmd, and then run the following Transact-SQL command. Replace <target_percent> with the desired percentage:

    DBCC SHRINKDATABASE (tempdb, '<target_percent>');

There are limitations with the DBCC SHRINKDATABASE command on tempdb. The target size for data and log files can't be smaller than the size that is specified when the database was created, or smaller than the last size that was explicitly set by using a file-size-changing operation such as ALTER DATABASE that uses the MODIFY FILE option. Another limitation of DBCC SHRINKDATABASE is the calculation of the target_percentage parameter and its dependency on the current space that is used.

Use the DBCC SHRINKFILE command

Use the DBCC SHRINKFILE command to shrink the individual tempdb files. DBCC SHRINKFILE provides more flexibility than DBCC SHRINKDATABASE because you can use it on a single database file without affecting other files that belong to the same database. DBCC SHRINKFILE receives the target_size parameter. This is the desired final size for the database file.

  1. Determine the desired size for the primary data file (tempdb.mdf), the log file (templog.ldf), and additional files that are added to tempdb. Make sure that the space that is used in the files is less than or equal to the desired target size.

  2. Connect to SQL Server with SQL Server Management Studio, Azure Data Studio, or sqlcmd, and then run the following Transact-SQL commands for the specific database files that you want to shrink. Replace <target_size_in_MB> with the desired size:

    USE tempdb;
    -- This command shrinks the primary data file
    DBCC SHRINKFILE (tempdev, '<target_size_in_MB>');
    -- This command shrinks the log file, examine the last paragraph.
    DBCC SHRINKFILE (templog, '<target_size_in_MB>');

An advantage of DBCC SHRINKFILE is that it can reduce the size of a file to a size that is smaller than its original size. You can issue DBCC SHRINKFILE on any of the data or log files. You can't make the database smaller than the size of the model database.

Error 8909 when you run shrink operations

If tempdb is being used, and if you try to shrink it by using the DBCC SHRINKDATABASE or DBCC SHRINKFILE commands, you may receive messages that resemble the following, depending on the version of SQL Server that you are using:

Server: Msg 8909, Level 16, State 1, Line 1 Table error: Object ID 0, index ID -1, partition ID 0, alloc unit ID 0 (type Unknown), page ID (6:8040) contains an incorrect page ID in its page header. The PageId in the page header = (0:0).

This error doesn't indicate any real corruption in tempdb. However, there might be other reasons for physical data corruption errors like error 8909, and that those reasons include I/O subsystem problems. Therefore, if the error happens outside shrink operations, you should do more investigation.

Although an 8909 message is returned to the application or to the user who is executing the shrink operation, the shrink operations won't fail.

See also

Next steps