Stop SQL Server transaction log (.LDF) files from growing indefinitely

SQL Server .LDF files are growing and growing and growing... Symptoms

You notice that in your SQL databases directory the .LDF files are growing permanently.


Set the recovery mode of your SQL Server databases to ‘simple’.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Perform a full-backup of your SQL Server databases.
    Note: This is very important since switching from the full or bulk-logged recovery model to the simple recovery model breaks the backup log chain. Therefore, it is strongly recommend to back up the log immediately before switching, which allows you to recover the database up to that point. After switching, you need to take periodic data backups to protect your data and to truncate the inactive portion of the transaction log. [Source]
  2. Switch recovery mode of SQL databases to SIMPLE.
    (See also: What is simple recovery mode?)

    Important Note:

  3. “The Simple recovery model lets you restore the database to the point from which it was last backed up. However, this recovery model does not enable you to restore the database to the point of failure or to a particular time.”  [Source]

    For each database...

    ... set recovery mode to SIMPLE.

  4. Shrink the transaction log (.LDF) files.

    Don't forget to Shrink...

    ... the log files after changing the recovery mode. 

  5. Perform a full-backup of your SQL Server databases.







Optionally you can use a script for the steps described above:


4 thoughts on “Stop SQL Server transaction log (.LDF) files from growing indefinitely”

  1. I’ve had the problem with the ldf file that grew over 250 GB. I’ve read most of the blogs and microsoft technical support. All useless information until I came across this one. It’s clear and concise. It’s got a step by step procedure how to reduce the size of the ldf file safely. Do not simply delete the file as you will destroy for database. This is the only safe option. Thank you for your help. If you had a donation option I would have made payment. This is how valuable this information was for me. Thank you. D.

  2. Thanks for your hints and your instructions. This guidline gave me the assurance to be on the correct way 😉


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