I have a fun problem,

I have data stored in SQL Server 2008 VARDATA column as Hex.

I need to see what this translated to string is.

I have tried CONVERT(VarChar(MAX), VARDATA, 2) and it returns a Varchar value of the hex exactly the same as it is in the VARDATA.

If I put the value that is in my VARDATA into an online converter I get the exact value I expect back.

Any help would be appreciated.


Example of the Hex is


It should work out to.


EDIT: some additional information. This data starts out in ORACLE it is in a RAW type column.

We bring the data to SQL Server 2008 via Linked Servers using the below open query.

from sapsr3.KAPOL

When I use the suggested function on this SQL Server 2008 table below.

from KAPOL

I get these symbols:

㈀  ㄀ ㄀ ㄀      㜀㜀㠀㠀

If I do the conversion of HEX in Oracle first and then try and bring it over I get an empty column.

Select TABNAME, VARKEY, DATALN, utl_raw.cast_to_nvarchar2(hextoraw(VARDATA)) VARDATA 
from sapsr3.KAPOL

Lastly, in the first instance with no conversion in the oracle table the data type for the column VARDATA is VARBINARY

When I try the conversion in Oracle first is NVARCHAR

1 Answer 1


You need to have a distinction between varchar and nvarchar. There is a big difference. If I try to create varbinary from your "should work out to" value:

SELECT CONVERT(VARBINARY(64), '201407240005688309')

I get this value, which looks kind of like the value you're converting, but not quite:


So now if I change the input to be nvarchar:

SELECT CONVERT(VARBINARY(64), N'201407240005688309')

Now I do get the value you wanted:


So if I take that value and try to convert it to nvarchar instead of varchar, we're back where we started:




The online converter you're using must be using Unicode behind the scenes. You need to do that, too.

  • Ok, so I was on the right track, thanks so much for the info. When I use the value directly from the DB I get this ㈀ ㄀㐀 㜀㈀㐀   㔀㘀㠀㠀 Apr 9, 2015 at 18:37
  • SELECT CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),VARDATA),VARDATA was used for the above Apr 9, 2015 at 18:38
  • Ok, so the data was original from Oracle, I need to do the hex conversion in that db first. Apr 9, 2015 at 18:40
  • 1
    What does "stored as hex" mean? What is the actual data type, and what is the exact insert/update statement that put it there? What is the exact statement that leads to all those Japanese characters? Apr 9, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    I don't know anything about how Oracle handles binary conversions. But if you want SQL Server to correctly translate a binary value to 201407240005688309, you need to make sure you're starting with the right binary value. Apr 9, 2015 at 20:14

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