How to Execute SQL Server Restore Master Database

The backbone of any SQL Server instance lies in its master database, the repository of critical system information that governs the functionality and configuration of the entire system.


By Zelia / Updated on September 4, 2023

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Importance of the master database in SQL Server

The master database serves as the central control center for SQL Server, containing essential metadata, configuration settings, login credentials, and system-level objects. It's responsible for maintaining the integrity of other databases and ensuring the overall health of the SQL Server instance. Without a properly functioning master database, the entire SQL Server ecosystem can grind to a halt, affecting data availability, security, and performance.


Reasons for restoring the master database

Restoring the master database in SQL Server is a critical operation that becomes necessary under various circumstances. The master database plays a central role in managing the entire SQL Server instance, and any issues or corruption in this database can have far-reaching consequences. Here are some of the key reasons why you might need to restore master database SQL Server:

  • Database Corruption: Instances of corruption in the master database files can disrupt its normal functioning and compromise the stability of the SQL Server.
  • Accidental Modifications: Unintended changes or deletions to system objects or configurations can result in a non-operational SQL Server.
  • Configuration Issues: Misconfigurations or alterations in server settings can lead to unexpected behavior, necessitating a master database restoration.
  • Disaster Recovery: In the face of server hardware failures, natural disasters, or cyberattacks, restoring the master database is essential for recovery.

How to restore master database in SQL Server

Restoring the master database in SQL Server is a delicate and crucial operation. It should be performed with caution, and you should have a good understanding of the process. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to rebuild master database in SQL Server without backup:

Note: Before starting, make sure you have a valid backup of the master database. Restoring the master database without a backup can result in data loss and system instability.

1. Initiate the server instance in single-user mode by launching SQL Server with the -m or -f startup parameters.

Run the following commands from a command prompt, being careful to change MSSQLXX.instance to the proper folder name:

cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQLXX.instance\MSSQL\Binn
sqlservr -c -f -s -mSQLCMD

  • The -mSQLCMD parameter ensures that onlysqlcmdcan connect to SQL Server.
  • For a default instance name, use -s MSSQLSERVER.
  • -c starts SQL Server as an application to bypass Service Control Manager to shorten startup time.

Note: If a damaged master database prevents the SQL Server instance from starting, you must first rebuild the system databases.

2. Establish a connection to SQL Server using SQLCMD from a separate Command Prompt window by executing the command:

SQLCMD -S -E -d master

3. To restore a full database backup of the master database, employ the following Transact-SQL statement:


The REPLACE feature directs SQL Server to recover the designated database, even if a database with the same name is already present; any existing database with that name will be removed. While in single-user mode, it is advisable to input the RESTORE DATABASE statement using the sqlcmd tool.

4. Restart the server instance in its regular service mode without any startup parameters.

5. Proceed with additional recovery tasks, such as restoring other databases, attaching databases, and resolving user mismatches.

Necessary SQL database backup before restoration via AOMEI Cyber Backup

To ensure a smooth restoration process, having a reliable backup solution is vital. AOMEI Cyber Backup provides an efficient way to create and manage SQL Server database backups. It offers features such as full, incremental, and differential backups, ensuring flexibility and data consistency. Regularly scheduling backups with it helps maintain an up-to-date recovery point and simplifies the restoration process in case of emergencies.

▸ Operation Within LAN: Assist you in doing numerous backups of SQL database, including SQL Express within LAN.
▸ Centralized Backup: Schedule backups of SQL server database and run it automatically.
▸ Schedule Backup: Create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, monthly.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports Microsoft SQL 2005-2022, including SQL Express. In addition, it also supports the virtual machine backup within LAN, please download the 30-day free trial to have a try:

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

Before you perform a database backup, please make sure:
1. Your computer with both AOMEI Cyber Backup Agent and Microsoft SQL Server installed.
2. The local disk or network shared to store backup files.

Simple steps to backup and restore SQL server database

1. Access to Source Device >> Add Microsoft SQL. If the database exists and the version is supported, it will appear automatically. Otherwise, you can click ​​​Add Microsoft SQL >> Download proxy program, and install the program on the device with SQL Server installed. Then click ​​​​​Already installed proxy and select the proxies you want to add.


2. Click>> Authentication to validate the database instance. You can choose Windows Authentication or SQL Authentication.Enter the credentials and click Verify.


3. Create Backup Task: Click Backup Task >> Create New Task, and select Microsoft SQL Backup as your backup type. Then set the Device Name, Backup Target, Schedule, Backup Cleanup and Email Notification according to your need.


  • Device Name: Click Device Name to select SQL instance and database for backup. You can choose the number of databases you want to backup according to your needs.


  • Backup Target: Specify a local path or network path as backup target. To back up SQL database to remote location, you could click Add a new network storage.The added path will be saved in Add storage.


  • Schedule: Set up a schedule to run the SQL database backup daily/weekly/monthly, and set the backup method as Full/Incremental/Differential.


  • Backup Cleanup: Help you to delete older backup version automatically and therefore save storage space.


  • Email Notification: Enable you to receive email notifications when the task is abnormal or successful.


4. Start Backup: You can choose to Add the schedule and start backup now or Add the schedule only and click Start Backup to execute automatic SQL server backup.


5. Restore from backup: Click Backup Task on the left menu bar, locate the task you want to restore, and click>> Restore. You can specify the target location by choosing Restore to original location or Restore to new location.



The master database holds the keys to the proper functioning of a SQL Server database instance. Understanding its significance, reasons for restoration, and the restoration process itself is crucial for you. By acknowledging the importance of regular backups, utilizing tools like AOMEI Cyber Backup, and following best practices, you can confidently navigate the complex world of SQL Server master database restoration and keep your systems resilient and operational.

Zelia · Editor
Zelia is an editor from AOMEI Technology.She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. Writing is one of her hobbies and she wants her articles to be seen by more people. In her spare time, she likes to draw and listen to music, and it is a pleasure for her to focus on her own world.