SQL “set identity_insert” Command: Enhance Data Management

Are you an SQL enthusiast or a database administrator looking to enhance your knowledge and protect your valuable data? Dive into our latest article exploring the SQL "set identity_insert" command and its comparison with other SQL commands.


By Zelia / Updated on October 16, 2023

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What is the SQL "set identity_insert" Command

The SQL set identity_insert command is a valuable tool for managing identity columns in SQL tables. Identity columns are typically used to generate unique, incremental values automatically. This command allows users to temporarily enable or disable the insertion of explicit values into identity columns.

Identity columns are commonly used in databases for primary key generation, and understanding how to manipulate them with the "set identity_insert" command is essential for various scenarios. Whether you need to import data into a table with an identity column, perform data migration, or handle data manipulation tasks, this command offers a versatile solution.


Comparison with Other SQL Commands

The "set identity_insert" command in SQL serves a specific purpose related to identity columns in a table. To understand its value, let's compare it with other SQL commands that are commonly used in database operations:

"set identity_insert" vs. "insert into"

  • "set identity_insert": This command allows you to temporarily enable or disable the insertion of explicit values into identity columns in a table. It's used when you need to insert specific values into identity columns for a particular operation and then revert to the automatic generation of values. This is particularly helpful in scenarios like data migration or importing data into a table with an identity column.
  • "Insert Into": The "insert into" command is used to insert rows into a table. It doesn't directly interact with identity columns. When using "insert into," the database system generates the values for identity columns automatically. You cannot insert explicit values into identity columns using this command.

Key Difference: The main distinction is that "set identity_insert" allows for the temporary insertion of explicit values into identity columns, while "insert into" cannot insert explicit values into these columns.

"set identity_insert" vs. "identity column reseeding"

  • "set identity_insert": This command, as previously mentioned, lets you control the insertion of explicit values into identity columns. It doesn't reset or change the identity seed value but rather provides a way to work with the existing identity column values.
  • "Identity Column Reseeding": Reseeding an identity column resets the identity value to a specific seed value. This operation effectively changes the starting point for identity column values. It's typically used when you want to start generating new identity values from a different number.

Key Difference: "set identity_insert" is for temporarily enabling/disabling explicit value insertion, while "Identity Column Reseeding" is for changing the starting point of identity column values.

How to Use the SQL "set identity_insert" Command

The SQL set identity_insert command is a powerful tool for managing identity columns in SQL tables. Identity columns are typically used for generating unique, incremental values automatically, and this command provides a way to temporarily enable or disable the insertion of explicit values into these columns. Here is the exact syntax of this command to set identity_insert on in SQL server or set identity_insert off in SQL:

SET IDENTITY_INSERT [ [ database_name . ] schema_name . ] table_name { ON | OFF }

☛ database_name
The name of the database in which the specified table resides.

☛ schema_name
The name of the schema to which the table belongs.

☛ table_name
The name of a table with an identity column.

Safeguard your SQL database with AOMEI Cyber Backup

SQL set identity_insert command enables the management of identity columns within SQL tables, allowing to set identity_insert on for all tables

for greater flexibility in data manipulation. Meanwhile, ensuring the safety and security of your SQL database is non-negotiable. Database disasters can be catastrophic, resulting in data loss, system crashes, and business interruptions. This is where AOMEI Cyber Backup comes into play.

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Centralized and Secure SQL Backup

✍ Before you perform a database backup, please make sure:
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Simple steps to perform a SQL database backup and restore

1. Access to Source Device >> Add Microsoft SQL. If the database exists and the version is supported, it will appear automatically. Otherwise, you need click Add Microsoft SQL >> Download proxy program >> Already installed proxyand 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. Click Backup Task >> Create New Task to back up your SQL databases.

  • Backup Type: Choose backup type as Microsoft SQL Backup, you can try virtual machine backup.
  • Task Name: Set a name for your SQL backup task to make it easy to find.


  • Device Name: Select the databases you want to backup.
  • Target: Select a location as the destination path. You can choose a local or network path as a storage end.

4. Select backup methods as full/incremental/differential backup and specify the backup time as daily/weekly/monthly. After that, your SQL databases will be backed up automatically and regularly.


5. Start Backup: You can choose to Add the schedule and start backup now or Add the schedule only.


6. 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.



Mastering the SQL set identity_insert command is essential for efficient database maintenance and management, as it provides control over identity columns in SQL tables. With a clear understanding of how to enable and disable identity insert, you can manipulate data with confidence, even in scenarios that demand specific values in identity columns.

Furthermore, safeguarding your SQL database with AOMEI Cyber Backup is a wise investment in data security and business continuity. The automated backup, quick recovery, and versatile storage options it offers can help you prevent data loss and minimize disruptions. By combining a strong grasp of SQL commands like "set identity_insert" with a robust backup solution like AOMEI Cyber Backup, you can elevate your database management to new heights and ensure the integrity of your valuable data.

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.