When I asked a client for a copy of his database he sent me a .ctl file, it seems it is a control file of an Oracle database. I have no experience in Oracle, I'm a SQL Server guy. I have installed an Oracle XE 18 instance in a test server. What do I have to do to connect to this database an access the tables? Is it possible to do so only having this .ctl file or do I need more files?

  • 2
    You need an RMAN backupset to go with it, or a datapump .dmp file to import
    – Philᵀᴹ
    Jun 12 '19 at 14:05

A control file is a metadata file and lists some system configuration settings and all the datafiles and their paths. A typical file is quite small and does not contain any user data.

You need a datapump export or, even better, as suggested by Philᵀᴹ, an RMAN backup. The RMAN backup is preferable as you will not have to create users and tablespaces first which you would with an export.

  • This .ctl file is 27Mb binary, not so small, but ok I will ask for an RMAN backup. Once I have this backup can I restore it using the web interface, Enterprise Manager? When I log as system I can't find any restore or backup or create database menu...
    – Alfz
    Jun 14 '19 at 22:44
  • @Alfz at that size it is not a control file, too big. Could be a poorly named data pump file, they are usually .dmp or expdp extension. You need to go back to the source and find out what it is, what the database name is and so on. Easiest way to restore is command line if you know a few more details
    – kevinskio
    Jun 15 '19 at 3:36

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