SQL Server: DBCC Commands

The Transact-SQL language supports the DBCC (Database Console Commands) statements, which are commands for the Database Engine. Depending on the options used with DBCC, the DBCC commands can be divided into the following groups:

  • Maintenance
  • Informational
  • Validation
  • Performance

In contrast to utilities of the Database Engine, which have to be installed separately for all Linux derivatives, the DBCC commands are already installed during the installation process.

NOTE This section discusses only the validation commands and a command in relation to performance. Other commands will be discussed in relation to their application. For instance, DBCC FREEPROCCACHE is discussed in detail in Chapter 19, while the description of DBCC USEROPTIONS can be found in Chapter 13.

1. Validation Commands

The validation commands do consistency checking of the database. The following commands belong to this group:


The DBCC CHECKALLOC command validates whether every extent indicated by the system has been allocated, as well as that there are no allocated extents that are not indicated by the system. Therefore, this command performs cross-referencing checks for extents.

The DBCC CHECKTABLE command checks the integrity of all the pages and structures that make up the table or indexed view. All performed checks are both physical and logical. The physical checks control the integrity of the physical structure of the page. The logical checks control, among other things, whether every row in the base table has a matching row in each nonclustered index, and vice versa, and whether indices are in their correct sort order. Using the PHYSICAL_ONLY option, you can validate only the physical structure of the page. This option causes a much shorter execution time of the command and is therefore recommended for frequent use on production systems.

The DBCC CHECKCATALOG command checks for catalog consistency within the specified database. It performs many cross-referencing checks between tables in the system catalog. After the DBCC CATALOG command finishes, a message is written to the error log. If the DBCC command successfully executes, the message indicates a successful completion and the amount of time that the command ran. If the DBCC command stops because of an error, the message indicates the command was terminated, a state value, and the amount of time the command ran.

If you want to check the allocation and the structural and logical integrity of all the objects in the specified database, use DBCC CHECKDB. (As a matter of fact, this command performs all checks previously described, in the given order.)

NOTE All DBCC commands that validate the system use snapshot transactions (see Chapter 13) to provide transactional consistency. In other words, the validation operations do not interfere with the other, ongoing database operations, because they use versions of current rows for validation.

2. Performance Command

The DBCC MEMORYSTATUS command provides a snapshot of the current memory status of the Database Engine. The command’s output is useful in troubleshooting issues that relate to the memory consumption of the Database Engine or to specific out-of-memory errors (many of which automatically print this output in the error log).

The output of this command has several parts, including the “Process/System Counts” part, which delivers important information concerning the total amount of memory (the Working Set parameter) and the actual memory used by the Database Engine (the Available Physical Memory parameter).

Source: Petkovic Dusan (2020), Microsoft SQL Server 2019: A Beginner’s Guide, Seventh Edition-McGraw-Hill Education.

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