My comand:

EXEC master..xp_cmdshell 'BCP "SELECT column_of_type_image FROM **your_db WHERE id = 1 " queryout "C:\exportdir\yourfile.pdf" -T -N'

above query run and successfully download the file but images preview not shown post downloaded that file size is 1 kb only

  • 1
    This is just a comment and does not answer you question: SQL is not the perfect place to store image... You could look into storing your file in a file shared and just store the file emplacement in SQL. Jul 31, 2020 at 14:23
  • Why would you export an "image" to a file with extension ".pdf"?
    – SMor
    Jul 31, 2020 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


The bcp native datatype for a SQL image data type column includes a length prefix that won't be recognized by the rendering application. IMHO, bcp is not the right tool for this job and invoking xp_cmdshell in general is a dubious practice from a security perspective.

That being said, one way you could export the binary column contents to a file is with a PowerShell command invoked via xp_cmdshell:

EXEC xp_cmdshell 'PowerShell -Command "$con = New-Object Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection(''Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI'');$con.Open();$cmd = New-Object Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand(''SET TEXTSIZE -1;SELECT column_of_type_image FROM yourdb.dbo.foobar WHERE id = 1;'', $con);[IO.File]::WriteAllBytes(''C:\exportdir\yourfile.pdf'', $cmd.ExecuteScalar());$con.Close()"'

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