Fast way to retrieve MSSQL database from a dead server

If you don’t want to read this, just skip to the next paragraph and go right at it. Basically the scenario is, at a company, a server was installed under a worker’s desk, the server is a MSSQL server running windows. One day a worker come in for work noticed the server unresponsive, basically can only boot into DOS, no network, no boot into Windows or any GUI, and what available on-hand is a USB thumb drive, and DOS. The server is locked physically meaning cannot open and take the hard drive out. The project due on same day and required data on the dead server, so what’s the quickest?

  1. ensure thumb drive is clean empty, format as needed on another computer
  2.  get a copy of the smallest linux OS such as puppy linux, damn small linux, or ubuntu whatever on a CD bootable version
  3. pop in the bootable linux OS, and boot into command console or even GUI would work
  4. basically read the directory that contain your mssql database such as MDF files and copy it into another folder then compress it as needed, or just copy it to a thumbdrive
  5. once copied completed to the flash drive, go to another server or your local computer temporary copy of MSSQL server to retrieve the data by copying the MDF files over, then read it through MSSQL Studio …

There you go.

Although you can probably do it in dos use xcopy command and so, or repair the broken windows server OS, and other stuff, but use what you have at hand. If you’re lazy then just call your help desk IT person and tell them it’s an emergency.