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  • Blog Post: Backup Meta-Data

    I'm working on a PowerShell script to show me the trending durations of my backup activities. The first thing I need is the data, so I looked at the Standard Reports in SQL Server Management Studio, and found a report that suited my needs, so I pulled out the script that it runs and modified it to this...
  • Blog Post: Multi-Monitor Support in SQl Server Management Studio 2008

    Did you notice that there are a lot of "little" things that were improved in SQL Server 2008? One of those was done by one of my favorite developers and deals with multi-monitor support. In previous versions of SQL Server Management Studio you could open the tool in multi-monitor and arrange the panes...
  • Blog Post: Data as Strategy

    I’ve created a presentation called “Data as Strategy”, and in it I cover multiple solutions for various issues that organizations face in dealing with the “new world” of data management. No longer are we just DBA’s or Developers, now we’re part of the broader business strategy of using data in strategic...
  • Blog Post: Hovering Over the Titles in Activity Monitor

    I show this little-known feature in just about every perf tuning class I give, and it’s often a surprise to most of the folks there. It’s not earth-shattering or anything, but I do find it helpful. In SQL Server Management Studio 2008, start the new Activity Monitor. Open one of the “Bands”, such as...
  • Blog Post: Tools and Processes for “Fitting it all in”

    Most data professionals I’ve met work in two modes: we plan for our day, and we react to the situations around us. I’m staring at my list of things that I need to do today right now, which is my planned work. Of course, I have no idea how much of that will really get done – it’s optimistic to be sure...
  • Blog Post: My Perfect SQL Server Management Tool

    As many of you know, I used to work on the product team on SQL Server Management Studio. I think it does a good job of balancing the needs of a data developer and a data administrator, even though there are things I would like to have done to make it even better. But if I were king, I would love to put...
  • Blog Post: Wizards are evil – wait, no they aren’t!

    SQL Server contains many “Wizards. Wizards are simply programs that collect information based on user choices. The Wizard’s screens explain each step and the choices on that screen. Based on those answers collected from the user, the Wizard performs some task. What could possibly be wrong with helping...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 does not always script out all tables

    I teach my college students to periodically script out their databases so that they can run the script to create the entire project on any system. I use this to check their homework, and to teach them about source-code control. We use the scripting wizard in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and select...
  • Blog Post: Code that Writes Code

    I have scripts that re-create my databases for testing and development purposes. But sometimes I want to take the data from a set of tables and move it as well – I could use SSIS, or a SELECT INTO statement, but what if I want to “re-set” the data to a point in time? In other words, load it with some...
  • Blog Post: Win7 – Install SQL Server Native or go Virtual PC?

    I have Windows 7 on my laptop, and I also teach, demo and use SQL Server 2005 and SQL server 2008. Should I install this “native” on my outside operating system or use the Virtual PC (VPC) software that comes with Windows 7? Well, there are arguments for each. It’s far simpler to start up SQL Server...
  • Blog Post: Templates for New Query Window

    When I’m in SQL Server Management Studio and I click the “New Query” button, my Query Window comes up like this: /* <ScriptFileName, SYSNAME, ScriptFileName>.sql Purpose: <Purpose, SYSNAME, Purpose> Author: <Author, SYSNAME, Buck Woody> Last Edited: <LastEdited, SYSNAME, LastEdited>...
  • Blog Post: Color Me Informed

    I got a response via e-mail to my post on using color connections – and I wanted to share it here: “ I just read your tip for color coding your Mgmt Studio connection.  I wanted to point out a couple things.  If you connect to a server where you have not yet set up a connection color, the color...
  • Blog Post: Color Your Connections

    In cyber-space, no one can hear you scream. Have you ever connected to a server, thought it was a testing or development system, and only a split second after you pressed “F5” to run that command, realized that it was the production server? Yeah….me neither :). To make sure that’s never you, when you...
  • Blog Post: Go To Find Combo

    A friend of mine – Bill Ramos – showed me a little-used feature in Management Studio that I’ve been using ever since. It’s a combo box that works in the Query Window and it allows you to find text quickly in a script, but it also has a hidden benefit. To put this box on your toolbar, right-click anywhere...
  • Blog Post: T-SQL Prettifiers

    OK, I don't think that's even a word, but the synonyms (can a non-word have a synonym?) are code beautifiers, sql formatters, etc. The basic idea is that it's a program that re-formats the text in a Transact-SQL statement using a standard set of rules. They do things like capitalizing keywords or breaking...
  • Blog Post: Directly Opening a Solution in SQL Server Management Studio

    I use Solutions a lot in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), and you should be aware of this simple tip: If you want to open a Solution without having to open SSMS and then jumping through all the menus, just double-click the solution name in the Windows folder. It will automatically open the Solution...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Management Studio Projects and Solutions

    Inside SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), there's a feature I don't see used a great deal. It's called a "Project" and in effect it's just a way to bundle files, connections and scripts into a single package that you can navigate within SSMS. This is actually an artifact from the base tool...
  • Blog Post: Code Collapse and Expand Feature in SQL Server Management Studio 2008

    In SQL Server Management Studio 2008, whenever you have a "block" of code (BEGIN....END, etc) SSMS will put a little plus-sign in the margin and allow you to "collapse" that block of code so you only see the BEGIN, not stuff underneath. If you're working with a really large set of...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Management Studio Tips and Tricks

    Are you getting everything out of your SQL Server tools that you can? I’ve given you lots of tricks and tips here on my blog, but nothing beats an on-screen demonstration. My good friend and former teammate Bill Ramos did a session on SQL Server Management Studio at TechEd this year – and...
  • Blog Post: Moving the "Debug" Button

    We made a tremendous amount of improvements in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) for SQL Server 2008. Some of them you can see, such as being able to add different columns in Object Explorer Details, and others you can't, such as the speed improvements for loading large sets of objects. One of the...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Management Studio - Copy With Headers

    I'm writing this on the train to Seattle to visit with a customer this morning - I'm thankful for Wireless! Although setting up a wireless network for a train is a really big thing, sometimes it's the smaller things that make us happy. In SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), you can open a query window...
  • Blog Post: A Template for Setting and Reading Extended Properties

    In the SQLCMS project, I show an example of some "base tables" that you can create for the system. Whenever I create a database, or database object, I make use of a feature that's been around for quite awhile - Extended Properties. You can set and read Extended Properties on almost any database object...
  • Blog Post: Quickly Locate Text in a Query Window in SSMS

    Wow - long title.   Anyway, my good friend Bill Ramos and I were chatting just the other day. He's a the guy at Microsoft that took my old responsibilities for SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), and we were swapping tips and tricks. He showed me one that he uses that I like a lot, so I thought...
  • Blog Post: Listing the Central Management Servers Programmatically

    I don't normally advocate hitting the system tables in any database with direct queries, preferring instead to use views or functions that the vendor provides. But so far I haven't been able to find the view or function that would return the list of servers in the Central Management Servers group on...
  • Blog Post: Object Search - Search Only What You Need

    At the top of the Object Explorer Details (OED) pane in SQL Server Management Studio 2008 there is a box to type in a search term for database objects. You can use the exact name, or use standard T-SQL wildcards to find an object such as a table or a view in your databases. But you should only search...
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