I need to delete rows from a table in several databases on several servers with the same schema. OPENROWSET() does not seem to be the answer.

If I do this:

SET @sqlStr = '
    SELECT TOP 0 * FROM OPENROWSET(''SQLNCLI'', ''Server=' + @Server + ';Trusted_Connection=yes;'',
        ''DELETE FROM [' + @DBName + '].dbo.tblName WHERE foo='bar') AS a';
EXEC (@sqlStr);

I get the error

Msg 11525, Level 16, State 1, Procedure sp_describe_first_result_set, Line 1
The metadata could not be determined because statement 'DELETE FROM  . . .

If I add SELECT 1; to the query so a resultset gets returned like i do below, I get one row one column result (the value of which is BTW not '1'). However, there delete operation does not occur.

SET @sqlStr = '
    SELECT TOP 0 * FROM OPENROWSET(''SQLNCLI'', ''Server=' + @Server + ';Trusted_Connection=yes;'',
        ''SELECT 1; DELETE FROM [' + @DBName + '].dbo.tblName WHERE foo='bar') AS a';
EXEC (@sqlStr);

What do I need to make the delete happen on the linked server?

  • I don't understand SELECT TOP 0 * or why you want OPENROWSET for this. Much simpler to just use the linked server directly, instead of trying to turn a non-query into a query, no? Apr 2, 2012 at 17:51
  • Alternative to using a linke server: Use PowerShell to loop through a server & database list calling invoke-sqlcmd. Apr 2, 2012 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


Why not just:

SET @sql = N'DELETE [' + @DBName + '].dbo.tblname WHERE foo = ''bar'';';
EXEC linkedserver...sp_executesql @sql;
  • Because I didn't know that was possible and didn't think that EXEC could do that. THANKS! Apr 2, 2012 at 17:58
  • Or just do: DELETE T FROM Server.Database.Schema.Table AS T WHERE ...... Apr 2, 2012 at 18:05
  • But @RobertLDavis did you notice that @DBName was a parameter? Also what value does the alias T provide? Apr 2, 2012 at 18:05

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