I have a table which has a Filestream column which I would like to move to another table.

Is this possible without having to do a "manual" move of the data (create target column; issue UPDATE/INSERT to target column from source column; DELETE source column)?

I'm hoping there might be a way to simply "detach" the column and move it to a different table.

I found a similar/related question about altering Filestream tables which makes me think that it isn't possible, but hoping that someone might be able to help!

2 Answers 2


You can't move the column without copying the data. There's one rather exotic idea to pull this of: You move all other columns and leave the filestream column in place.

Depending on the number of rows and schema changes required this can be a lot faster (or slower). You might have to completely gut some tables and create complicated scripts. I only would do this approach if you really need to avoid this downtime.

  • I like your backwards thinking :) I am going to look into this.
    – oatsoda
    Jun 19, 2015 at 11:37

No I don't know any way to do this. Just make an INSERT or UPDATE on the other table. You can detach whole partitions of a table and move them to another table. But not just one column.

Why don't you just want to copy/move the data?

  • Because the column contains many GB of data and I don't want to have an upgrade path that takes hours!
    – oatsoda
    Jun 19, 2015 at 8:54
  • 1
    Well many GB, how many? If you have a good IO subsystem it should be a operation of a few seconds maybe some minutes. I needed to move a table between two servers for a while which holds 200GB and it took 8 Minutes. Well many GB is relative. :-) And as I said, I haven't seen a way to perform such a operation.
    – Ionic
    Jun 19, 2015 at 8:59
  • Ranging from 50GB up to 400GB...But some of this is on customer infrastructure... I suppose you are right - I need to run a test and see!
    – oatsoda
    Jun 19, 2015 at 11:36
  • Ah ok. The customer side may vary. You can run a test by just moving 1000/10000 rows and try to evaluate how long it takes. By the way, if the customer side is set to RECOVERY MODE SIMPLE, I would suggest to run it in a loop and copy just 10.000 rows each time. If something fails, you won't rollback everything, just the last 10.000 rows. Another side-effect is that the transaction log won't grow to a huge monster in this case.
    – Ionic
    Jun 19, 2015 at 11:57

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