I'm running sqlcmd from a batch file and I was wondering how to make it return an ERRORLEVEL other than 0 when something goes wrong with the backup.

  • Have you considered using something more robust (particularly at error handling) than batch files? – Aaron Bertrand Sep 22 '14 at 16:50
  • Oh you mean like Powershell? We were just going with the company recommended method for the product we are using. Trouble is the recommend method assumes you're backing up one database; but I've overcome that hurdle. So there's no way to get it to just throw an error code if the backup doesn't work? – leeand00 Sep 22 '14 at 17:00
  • 3
    For what it's worth, at my current job, we use Ola Hallengren's backup stored procedures (with some in-house wrapper stored procedures around them) to backup thousands of databases across hundreds of servers, and we've had no problems with them. – James Lupolt Sep 22 '14 at 18:10

You should use the option -b in sqlcmd.

-b Specifies that sqlcmd exits and returns a DOS ERRORLEVEL value when an error occurs. The value that is returned to the DOS ERRORLEVEL variable is 1 when the SQL Server error message has a severity level greater than 10; otherwise, the value returned is 0


| improve this answer | |

From the MSDN SQLCMD Utility page at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms162773.aspx

If RAISERROR is used within a sqlcmd script and a state of 127 is raised, sqlcmd will quit and return the message ID back to the client. For example:

RAISERROR(50001, 10, 127)

So you could wrap the BACKUP DATABASE... command in a TRY...CATCH block and raise the appropriate error message, which sqlcmd would then return to your batch file.

For instance, the consider the following errorleveltest.sql file:

    /* creates error 3147 Backup and restore operations 
            are not allowed on database tempdb */
    BACKUP DATABASE tempdb; 
    DECLARE @msg NVARCHAR(255);
    SET @msg = 'An error occurred: ' + ERROR_MESSAGE();
    RAISERROR (50002, 10, 127);

And the following .bat file: (first line is wrapped for readability, but needs to be on a single line.)

@echo off
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\110\Tools\Binn\sqlcmd" -S "someinstance" -E 
    -i .\errorleveltest.sql

This returns the following from my cmd.exe prompt:

Msg 18054, Level 16, State 1, Server CP708-D377\MV, Line 9
Error 50002, severity 10, state 127 was raised, but no message with that error number 
was found in sys.messages. If error is larger than 50000, make sure the user-defined 
message is added using sp_addmessage.
Errorlevel: 1

As you can see, ERRORLEVEL 1 is returned instead of the normal return value of 0. I'm unable to get the ERRORLEVEL to reflect the actual error number, in this case 50002; perhaps there is an issue in my code, or perhaps there is some problem with my environment.

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  • 1
    I've found that this ONLY works if you supply a numeric value as the first parameter of RAISERROR. for example: This returns a %errorlevel% = 1: RAISERROR(50002, 10,127) But this returns %errorlevel% = 0: RAISERROR('myErrMsg.', 10,127) – user73342 Aug 21 '15 at 20:43
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    FYI regarding the last paragraph: ERRORLEVEL shouldn't be expected to be the same value as the Error Number reported from SQL Server. The ErrorNumber is a SQL Server-specific value to indicate why it (i.e. SQL Server) terminated. On the other hand, ERRORLEVEL is a SQLCMD-specific value to indicate why it (i.e. SQLCMD) terminated. – Solomon Rutzky Dec 4 '15 at 19:00

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