SQL Server Health Check

Finding User Tables In SQL Server System Databases

Mark Varnas
No comments

Why should you care about user data tables?

User data tables should not be in the system databases (master, msdb):

  1. In case of failure, there is a high chance that those tables will be lost.
  2. In the case of migration, these tables may be forgotten and not restored.
  3. It shows that some users may have excessive access rights to system databases.
  4. Also, maybe someone is running a query or pointing a third-party tool at the wrong database, deploying some objects, and not cleaning up afterwards.

How can you find user-created tables in the SQL Server system databases?

You can use the script below to list all user tables in master and msdb databases.

SELECT 'msdb' AS SysDatabaseName
	,name AS UserTable FROM    msdb.sys.tables WHERE   is_ms_shipped = 0
	AND name NOT LIKE '%DTA_%'

	SELECT  'model' AS SysDatabaseName
	,name AS UserTable FROM    model.sys.tables WHERE   is_ms_shipped = 0;

How to fix them?

  1. Rename the tables.
  2. If no problems after X (30?) days, delete them.
  3. It could also fix security, so this can’t happen again.
  4. Ideally, you want to add automated DDL (any object modifications) monitoring to log all.

More information

Article by
Mark Varnas
Founder | CEO | SQL Veteran
Hey, I'm Mark, one of the guys behind Red9. I make a living performance tuning SQL Servers and making them more stable. I channel my SQL into our SQL Managed Services, SQL Consulting and our internal database products.

Leave a Comment

Managed SQL Server services, consulting, and emergency support from expert DBAs to improve performance, predictability, and cost.

Get started with Red9 today.

Contact us

Discover More

Discover what clients are saying about Red9

Red9 has incredible expertise both in SQL migration and performance tuning.

The biggest benefit has been performance gains and tuning associated with migrating to AWS and a newer version of SQL Server with Always On clustering. Red9 was integral to this process. The deep knowledge of MSSQL and combined experience of Red9 have been a huge asset during a difficult migration. Red9 found inefficient indexes and performance bottlenecks that improved latency by over 400%.

Rich Staats 5 stars
Rich Staats
Cloud Engineer

Always willing to go an extra mile

Working with Red9 DBAs has been a pleasure. They are great team players and have an expert knowledge of SQL Server database administration. And are always willing to go the extra mile to get the project done.
5 stars
Evelyn A.
Sr. Database Administrator

Boosts server health and efficiency for enhanced customer satisfaction

Since adding Red9 to the reporting and DataWarehousing team, Red9 has done a good job coming up to speed on our environments and helping ensure we continue to meet our customer's needs. Red9 has taken ownership of our servers ensuring they remain healthy by monitoring and tuning inefficient queries.
5 stars
Andrew F.
Datawarehousing Manager
See more testimonials