Firstly, forgive my poor question title. I couldn't think of the best way to summarise this.

Essentially I'm putting together some scenario based DR documentation, with this specific scenario being a SAN issue where we have lost disks which hold either log or data files.

I'm assuming that MASTER has been affected (ie. the drive where it's files exist isn't accessible) and SQL services won't therefore start.

My specific questions are as follows:

  1. If I run a rebuild of sys databases via command prompt using the install media, am I able to specify an alternative drive for the files? My understanding is on a rebuild, the pre-existing default instance location is used, which in this scenario wouldn't be accessible.

  2. Assuming I can get a copy of the mdf and ldf files (by restoring a backup to another instance, for example) is there a way to start SQL Server by pointing it to a different location for the MASTER database? Like a service parameter?

Now I know that it would be possible to mount a new disk with the same drive letter, but I'm looking for a way where I could safely bring the instance up sooner than that, given in a critical situation such as this, the datacenter may have a list of priorities as long as their arm and it could be several hours or worse before the new volume could be ready.

Thanks all...


1 Answer 1


I believe all of your questions can be answered here :)

The link covers:

  1. Planned relocation of system databases
  2. Failure recovery of system databases
  3. Moving Master
  4. Moving Resource
  5. Other considerations
  • Great article - not sure how I missed it. The only thing it doesn't answer is if you can specify a new location when you run a rebuild system databases action. Other than that it's a huge help.
    – Molenpad
    Jul 17, 2016 at 19:39
  • 1
    No, they are dropped and re-created in their original location: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd207003.aspx Jul 17, 2016 at 21:47

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