How To Fix Transaction Log For Database is Full Due To Log backup

If you’re a SQL Server administrator, you may have encountered the vexing “transaction log for database is full due to log_backup” error message. This error arises when your database’s transaction log file reaches its maximum size, primarily because the log backup feature is activated.

This feature prevents the transaction log from shrinking until a backup is executed, ensuring you can recover your database to any desired point in time. However, neglecting regular log backups can lead to this error.

In this article, we’ll explore various solutions to resolve this issue, taking into account your specific circumstances and preferences.

Solution 1: Performing a Log Backup

The simplest and recommended solution is to perform a log backup for your database. This action truncates the transaction log, creating space for new transactions. You can execute a log backup using the “BACKUP LOG” command or opt for a user-friendly graphical tool like SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or Azure Data Studio. Here’s a step-by-step guide for performing a log backup on the AdventureWorks database using SSMS:

  • Right-click the AdventureWorks database in the Object Explorer and select “Tasks” > “Back Up…”
  • In the “Back Up Database” dialog box, choose “Transaction Log” as the backup type.
  • Specify the backup file destination and click “OK.”

This process generates a log backup file, ensuring you can restore your database in case of a disaster. Remember to perform log backups at regular intervals to prevent the transaction log from becoming crowded again.

Solution 2: Shrinking the Transaction Log File

Another approach to addressing this error is to shrink the transaction log file to reduce its size. You can employ the “DBCC SHRINKFILE” command or utilize graphical tools such as SSMS or Azure Data Studio. To shrink the transaction log file of the AdventureWorks database using SSMS, follow these steps:

  • Locate the AdventureWorks database in the Object Explorer.
  • Right-click on it and choose “Tasks” > “Shrink” > “Files.”
  • In the “Shrink File” window, pick “Log” from the file type options.
  • Enter your preferred size for the file, and then click “OK.”

However, be aware that shrinking the transaction log file can have potential downsides, including fragmentation, performance degradation, and the risk of regrowth if the workload is high. Therefore, consider it a last resort rather than a routine maintenance task.

Solution 3: Changing the Database Recovery Model

An alternative strategy to resolve this error is to modify the recovery model of your database from “Full” or “Bulk-Logged” to “Simple.” The recovery model dictates how data is stored in the transaction log and how it’s backed up. The “Full” and “Bulk-Logged” models require regular log backups for log truncation, while the “Simple” recovery model automatically truncates the transaction log after each checkpoint, keeping its size in check.

To change the recovery model of the AdventureWorks database to “Simple” using SSMS, follow these steps:

  • Locate the AdventureWorks database in the Object Explorer.
  • Right-click on it and choose “Properties.”
  • Inside the “Database Properties” window, go to “Options” on the left.
  • From the “Recovery model” drop-down, pick “Simple,” and then click “OK.”

Keep in mind that changing the recovery model can have implications, including potential impacts on your existing backup and restore strategy, the risk of data loss in disaster scenarios, and limitations on certain features like replication, mirroring, or availability groups. Thus, exercise caution when switching the recovery model and assess whether point-in-time recovery is necessary for your database.


In this article, we’ve explored several effective solutions to tackle the “transaction log for database is full due to log_backup” error in SQL Server. Each solution offers its advantages and considerations, allowing you to choose the one that best aligns with your specific needs and circumstances.