I have a legacy query from years ago that was written for an MS Access backend:

    DELETE category.*
    FROM category
    LEFT JOIN product_category ON category.id = product_category.categoryid
    WHERE product_category.categoryid IS NULL
      AND category.id IN
        (SELECT cat.id
         FROM category AS cat
         LEFT JOIN category AS cat_par ON cat_par.category_parent = cat.id
         WHERE cat_par.category_parent IS NULL
           AND cat.category_parent != 0
           AND cat.link IS NULL);

My system was changed to SQL Server and this query no longer runs. I have tested the subquery (in the parenthesis) separately and that works as expected. Just no records are getting deleted.

I have tried changing the first two lines to read DELETE FROM category (the only syntax difference I was able to look up) but still no deletion occurs.

  • 1
    Try DELETE category instead of DELETE category.*. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 13:00
  • 1
    What do you mean No longer runs. What happens when you try to run it? Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


I think Binaya Regmi is correct. When deleting in SQL-Server explicitly name the table you want to delete the rows from - especially necessary when using a join.

So in your case change the top row from

DELETE category.*


DELETE category
  • Beat me to it! I've always felt that syntax to be a little un-intuitive. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 13:38
  • @StevePettifer you can make it perhaps more intuituve by supplying the optional FROM: DELETE FROM category etc
    – AakashM
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 8:10
  • @AakashM That's not the point I was making: I meant I never understood why Access used tablename.* given the .* is redundant yet intuitively sort of makes sense to a lot of beginners thanks to SELECT *. But anyway, the OP got their answer and everyone's a winner. Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 8:26

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