Somehow two rows in a table that is party to merge replication are identical, including their rowguid. I have no idea how this happened, it is only with two rows in my entire database (which is used in production).

No matter how I try to delete them, I get the following error:

Msg 2601, Level 14, State 1, Procedure MSmerge_del_12B5E838BB91458D81AD66DD7EB5ABDC, Line 46 Cannot insert duplicate key row in object 'dbo.MSmerge_tombstone' with unique index 'uc1MSmerge_tombstone'. The duplicate key value is (7094001, df2e61b2-3d8e-e511-84bb-00155d00c1da). The statement has been terminated.

This is somewhat expected, but I have no idea how to get around it. I'd very much like to avoid dropping anything big (i.e. replication, tables, etc.). This is an isolated case and I don't expect it to happen again so I don't mind doing a manual work-around.

Can anyone provide some insight into this?


  • By anychance you restored the database with KEEP_REPLICATION ? You rarely hit a dupe in dbo.MSmerge_tombstone unless a database is restored.
    – Kin Shah
    Nov 23, 2015 at 20:38
  • @Kin Yes, the subscriber is a restore of the publisher that may have had KEEP_REPLICATION enabled. I will keep that in mind for future restores, if necessary. Is there a way to correct this now though?
    – tmwoods
    Nov 23, 2015 at 20:58
  • can you try to drop and recreate the index uc1MSmerge_tombstone to see if it fixes the problem ?
    – Kin Shah
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:21
  • That worked! Awesome, thanks a lot! If you put that as an answer I'll mark it as correct. I scripted the index first (so I wouldn't have to write it out), then dropped it, deleted the row through T-SQL (can't do it through the Edit pane), then re-created the index.
    – tmwoods
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:42
  • Glad that it helped. I have posted as answer to get this out of queue of unanswered questions !
    – Kin Shah
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


The duplicate rows in the MSmerge_tombstone occurs when you restore the database with KEEP_REPLICATION bit.

Its a good practice to configure replication from scratch since you never know that you run into some unknown issue just like you did.

As confirmed by OP - drop the index uc1MSmerge_tombstone, delete the offending row and recreating the index fixes the problem.

Remember that you have to be caution when fiddling with MSmerge* tables.

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