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I primarily use them when I'm moving or copying a database to a new instance of SQL Server. In that case, the DMK in the database will be re-encrypted with the new instance's service master key, but the objects encrypted by the DMK (in your case, the symmetric keys) will not be updated accordingly. You'll need to restore the DMK from a separate backup using ...


per Aaron's link above, The database master key is used to encrypt other keys and certificates inside a database. If >it is deleted or corrupted, SQL Server may be unable to decrypt those keys, and the data >encrypted using them will be effectively lost. So, if the master key has gotten corrupted during the database backup, storage, or the restore, ...

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