Attach a single MDF file – Database

If you want to attach a database to a SQL Instance you need both the data file (.mdf) and the log file (.ldf). Without both files you cannot attach a database. Let’s try doing that…

To attach a database from Management Studio:

Right click on Database node and choose attach:


This will open the "Attach Databases" dialogue box, where you can select the .mdf file using "Add…" button:


Note, that is says "Not Found" for log file, if you click on "OK", it will raise an error:


The detailed error message can be seen by click on “Message” link:


Moral of the story, you can’t attach single .mdf  using GUI. You need to use T-SQL to achieve this:

— © 2011 – Vishal (



ON (FILENAME = 'C:\123\TestDB.mdf')


On successful completion, you will get the below message:

File activation failure. The physical file name "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.DENALI\MSSQL\DATA\TestDB_1.ldf" may be incorrect.

New log file 'C:\123\TestDB_log.ldf' was created.

Hope This Helps!


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  1. February 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    THanks for sharing ..

  2. October 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    though GUI also.. u can attach only.. mdf file

    for that u have to.. remove second ‘not found’ .ldf file. and try attaching.

  1. January 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm

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