I'm trying to force drop a database, but after dropping the database, when I try to recreate the database, I'm getting the error

cannot create file C:\Program Files.....[databasename].mdf because it already exists

Here's my query to force drop the database

Use master;
ALTER database [databasename] set offline with ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE;
DROP database [databasename];

I understood that, the above query is dropping the database, but it's not deleting the .ldf and .mdf files. How to drop the database thoroughly?

A normal query

Drop database [databasename] ; //deletes the database completely, including the ldf and mdf's.

How to force drop a database, which also deletes the .mdf and .ldf files?

1 Answer 1


That is expected and documented behavior:

Dropping a database deletes the database from an instance of SQL Server and deletes the physical disk files used by the database. If the database or any one of its files is offline when it is dropped, the disk files are not deleted. These files can be deleted manually by using Windows Explorer. To remove a database from the current server without deleting the files from the file system, use sp_detach_db.

So why are you taking your database offline first? Just set it into SINGLE_USER mode and then drop it as documented on SQL Server Books Online.-

USE master;
DROP DATABASE [databasename] ;

Note, database backups will not be deleted as part of the process documented above.

  • This won't work because you are not the current user who uses the DB, if any other process keeps trying to connect to it it won't work.
    – Aladdin
    Sep 22, 2020 at 11:42

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