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When attempting to shrink the log file of a database from SQL Management Studio, I noticed that the shrink operation does not seem to remove the expected amount of space.

shrink doesn't remove space

I have also executed the 'DBCC SHRINKFILE' command, specifying the log file, but the file size remains relatively unchanged.


Could you please help me understand why the Shrink Log File operation is not effectively reclaiming space from the log file?

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Why the Shrink Log File operation may not effectively remove space from the log file?

There are many reasons that cause that the Shrink Log File operation may not effectively remove space from the log file as the following:

1. The log file may not shrink if it has not been backed up recently.

Regular log backups help truncate the log file and make space available for reuse. Without regular log backups, the log file may grow and not shrink even after performing the Shrink Log File operation as in your case.

So Make sure to schedule regular log backups to keep the log file size in check as mentioned at Create Transaction LOG BACKUP Maintenance Plan in SQL Server

Besides that, you can create an on-demand Backup log as below

BACKUP LOG 'DBName' TO DISK='Backup Path\log.bak'

Then perform the shrink operation on the log file


2. There isn't enough free space

If there isn't enough free space, the shrink operation can't make the file smaller. The log file is often the one that doesn't shrink properly. This happens because the log file hasn't been truncated.

To fix this, you can either change the database recovery model to SIMPLE and then try shrinking the file again using the DBCC SHRINKFILE operation by using the below query.

use DBName 
alter DBName set recovery simple
dbcc shrinkfile('DB_log',100)
alter database DBName set recovery FUll

Check also, How to Shrink a Transaction Log File Maintenance Plan in SQL Server

3. Log File Size Limit

The log file may have reached its maximum configured size. In some cases, the log file growth is restricted by a maximum size limit defined for the file. If the log file has reached this limit, it cannot be further shrunk until the limit is increased or altered.

Check the maximum file size configuration for the log file and consider adjusting it if necessary.

Log file size Limit

Note: Shrinking log files should be done judiciously and in accordance with best practices, as it can have performance implications, read also The transaction log for database SharePoint_Config is full due to LOG_BACKUP

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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and provide your valuable insights. Your input has been incredibly helpful, and I greatly appreciate your assistance.
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