I am looking to improve the performance of a certain procedure and I wanted to begin with the insertion of the SET NOCOUNT ON.

I've read a couple of articles on the subject:

Aaron Bertrand

SET NOCOUNt ON Improves SQL Server SP Performance

But what I don't really understand is if this is needed once per procedure, or would it need to be inserted every time you have "begin / end"

For example, in the procedure below - should I insert the SET NOCOUNT ON right have the last variable is set: set @PrintInfo = 'No Trip Number...

Or would I need to insert the SET NOCOUNT ON after every "begin" in the procedure:

Create procedure [dbo].SSIS_UpdateDriveResults
@RSADriveID nvarchar (50),
@ProcedureID int,
@Registered int,
@Performed  int,

set @ResultError = 0
set @ResultMessage = ''

declare @Id int
declare @Name varchar(64)
declare @DriveId int
declare @ErrorMessage nvarchar(255)

Set @ExternalIDs = cast(@RSADriveID as nvarchar(50))
set @IsFixedSite = 'N'
set @CurrentDate = getdate()
set @UpdateWho = -1
set @PrintInfo = ' No Trip Number   ' + convert(varchar(8), @RSADriveID, 1) 

select @UpdateWho = personid from db_name.[dbo].peoplelogindetail where loginid = 'RMADMIN'

if @UpdateWho <= 0
set @ResultError = 1
set @ResultMessage = 'ERROR:Unable to locate employee with login RMADMIN for inserts. ' + @PrintInfo
print @ResultMessage

--Get the account or fixed site    
select top 1 @Id = a.accountid, @Name = a.name 
from db_name.[dbo].accounts a 
where a.accountid in
    (Select accountid from db_name.[dbo].drivemaster where deleted = 0 and statusid not in (5) and driveid in
        (select driveid from db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftDetail where ShiftID = (@RSADriveID))) --ShiftID

if(@Id is null or @Id <=0 )
-- See if this is a fixed site
select @Id = dm.centerid, @Name = cd.desclong 
    from db_name.[dbo].drivemaster dm 
    join db_name.[dbo].centerdetail cd on dm.centerid = cd.centerid 
    where dm.deleted = 0 and dm.statusid not in (5) and dm.driveid in
        (select driveid from db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftDetail where ShiftID = (@RSADriveID)) --ShiftID

if(@Id > 0 )
    set @IsFixedSite = 'Y'

-- Locate the drive
@DriveId = dm.driveid,
@DriveDate = dm.fromdatetime,
@Name=case when dm.drawid>0 then cd.desclong else a.name end

from db_name.[dbo].drivemaster dm
left outer join db_name.[dbo].accounts a on a.accountid=dm.accountid
left outer join db_name.[dbo].centerdetail cd on cd.centerid=dm.centerid
where dm.deleted = 0 and dm.statusid not in (5) and dm.driveid in
    (select driveid from db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftDetail where ShiftID = (@RSADriveID))

if(@DriveId is null or @DriveId <=0 )
--For Historical Drives
select top 1 @DriveId = dm.driveid, @DriveDate = dm.fromdatetime, @Name=case when dm.drawid>0 then cd.desclong else a.name end, @ShiftID = dsd.ShiftID 
from db_name.[dbo].drivemaster dm
join db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftDetail dsd on dsd.DriveID=dm.DriveID
left outer join db_name.[dbo].accounts a on a.accountid=dm.accountid
left outer join db_name.[dbo].centerdetail cd on cd.centerid=dm.centerid

where dm.deleted = 0
and dm.statusid not in (5) 
and dm.externalid like @ExternalIds
and isnumeric(dm.ExternalID)=1

order by dsd.ShiftStart asc, dsd.ShiftID asc

if(@DriveId is null or @DriveId <=0 )
    set @ResultError = 1
    set @ResultMessage = 'Unable to locate drive.' + @PrintInfo
    print @ResultMessage
set @PrintInfo = '  Trip Number:( ' + convert(varchar(8), @RSADriveID, 1) + ' )  Name: ' + @Name
set @PrintInfo = @PrintInfo + '  Date: ' + convert(varchar(10), @DriveDate, 101)


if not exists (select * from db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftActualDetail where ShiftID=@ShiftId)
--Insert Missing DriveShiftActualDetail Rows
INSERT INTO db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftActualDetail

    isnull((select count(distinct personid) from db_name.[dbo].peoplestaffingdetail where shiftid in (select shiftid from db_name.[dbo].staffingeventshiftdetail where driveshiftid=dsd.ShiftID)),0),

from db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftDetail dsd

where not exists
    select dsad.* from db_name.[dbo].DriveShiftActualDetail dsad where dsad.shiftid=dsd.shiftid
and dsd.ShiftID=@ShiftId

if(@@Error <> 0)
    select @ErrorMessage = description from master.dbo.sysmessages where error = @@Error
    set @ResultError = 1
    set @ResultMessage = 'ERROR:Error Inserting the Drive Shift Actual record. ' + @PrintInfo
  • 7
    Two things: 1) Why haven't you tried it to see what happens? It would have taken less time to test it yourself than it did to write up this question. Simply add in the SET NOCOUNT ON at the top, run the proc, and then you will know. Then it doesn't matter what anyone on the Interwebs has to say about how it works because SQL Server would have given you a definitive answer, while people here can be wrong (and yes, sometimes even accepted answers with many upvotes are wrong). 2) Always go back to primary documentation: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189837.aspx May 29, 2015 at 18:21
  • 4
    Just set it once. And don't spend a lot of time on this, either. Every little bit helps, but if we draw an analogy from sports, the extra efficiency you get here is often going to be similar to the reduction in drag a swimmer gets by shaving their knuckles right before a meet. There are many other things you can spend your time optimizing that will be more like removing the 20kg weights attached to their ankles. May 29, 2015 at 18:54
  • 2
    @AaronBertrand i swam competitively in high school. i never once shaved my knuckles. perhaps that's why i never got a scholarship.
    – swasheck
    May 29, 2015 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


You only need to SET NOCOUNT ON; once per procedure, preferably at the top of the body of the procedure itself. Certainly you'd need it prior to any statement that generates output.

So, for instance, I'd use something like this as a template for creating procedures:


Books Online says this about SET NOCOUNT ON:

Stops the message that shows the count of the number of rows affected by a Transact-SQL statement or stored procedure from being returned as part of the result set.

SET NOCOUNT ON prevents the sending of DONE_IN_PROC messages to the client for each statement in a stored procedure. For stored procedures that contain several statements that do not return much actual data, or for procedures that contain Transact-SQL loops, setting SET NOCOUNT to ON can provide a significant performance boost, because network traffic is greatly reduced.

Setting this option at the start of the procedure body, as I've outlined above, makes it easy to verify the statement is actually in the procedure.

Be aware, the row count feature is used by certain software, not least of which is SQL Server itself for Linked Servers, to ascertain whether or not the executed DML was successful. Setting NOCOUNT ON may cause errors to occur that you are not expecting, and that can be difficult to troubleshoot. Also note, the following comment and advice from @AaronBertrand:

One thing to keep in mind (and a disclaimer I give whenever I recommend NOCOUNT), is that it can interfere with certain technologies. For example if you have old ADO code (prior to ASP.NET), it interprets the DONE_IN_PROC messages as independent resultsets, so your existing code may already have things like rs.nextRecordSet() to skip them. Also certain modules in Entity Framework (and probably other ORMs) rely on those messages to determine success of DML operations. So don't just blindly add them to all of your code if you use these technologies and already have working code.

  • 1
    Technically it's a session-level setting, so only really needed once per session. But practically speaking, if one is calling procs from app code, then it pretty much needs to be once per proc, as you have stated here. May 29, 2015 at 18:16

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