If I query a table which exists in two different schemas but has the same name what determines which table is used?

For example I have table Bar which exists in both dbo and foo, if I execute the statement below which one is returned:


I thought this was determined by the users default schema but doesn't appear to be the case.

I ask because I have found queries written by someone else who is not specifying the schema name yet the database being queried has the same tables in different schemas for ETL.


1 Answer 1


According to the Books Online:

The value of DEFAULT_SCHEMA is ignored if the user is a member of the sysadmin fixed server role. All members of the sysadmin fixed server role have a default schema of dbo.

So it seems the account used where the default schema is not working is a sysadmin role member. The default schema of the dbo user is always dbo and cannot be changed.

The best practice is generally is to schema-qualify object references to avoid ambiguity and improve performance.


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