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Getting Started

dbatools logo dbatools is PowerShell module that you may think of like a command-line SQL Server Management Studio. The project initially started out as just Start-SqlMigration.ps1, but as of our 2.0 version release has grown into a collection of nearly 700 commands that help automate SQL Server tasks and encourage best practices.

Want to contribute to the project? We'd love to have you! Visit our for a jump start.

Want to say thanks? Click the star at the top of the page 🌟

Key links for reference:

Need an invite to the SQL Community Slack workspace? Check out the self-invite page. Drop by if you'd like to chat about dbatools or even join the team!


dbatools works on Windows, Linux and macOS (M1 and Intel!) 🤩👍 Windows requires PowerShell v3 and above, while those using dbatools on PowerShell Core will need to be running 7.3 and above.

Run the following command to install dbatools from the PowerShell Gallery (to install on a server or for all users, remove the -Scope parameter and run in an elevated session):

Install-Module dbatools -Scope CurrentUser

If you use an earlier version of PowerShell that does not support the PowerShell Gallery, you can download PowerShellGet from Microsoft's site then run the command again.

Usage scenarios

In addition to the simple things you can do in SSMS (e.g. starting a job, backing up a database), we've also read a whole bunch of docs and came up with commands that do nifty things quickly.

  • Lost sysadmin access and need to regain entry to your SQL Server? Use Reset-DbaAdmin.
  • Need to easily test your backups? Use Test-DbaLastBackup.
  • SPN management got you down? Use our suite of SPN commands to find which SPNs are missing and easily add them.
  • Got so many databases you can't keep track? Congrats on your big ol' environment! Use Find-DbaDatabase to easily find your database.

Usage examples

As previously mentioned, dbatools now offers over 700 commands! Here are some of the ones we highlight at conferences.

PowerShell v3 and above required. (See below for important information about alternative logins and specifying SQL Server ports).

# Set some vars
$new = "localhost\sql2016"
$old = $instance = "localhost"
$allservers = $old, $new

# Alternatively, use Registered Servers
$allservers = Get-DbaRegServer -SqlInstance $instance

# Need to restore a database? It can be as simple as this:
Restore-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance $instance -Path "C:\temp\AdventureWorks2012-Full Database Backup.bak"

# Use Ola Hallengren's backup script? We can restore an *ENTIRE INSTANCE* with just one line
Get-ChildItem -Directory \\workstation\backups\sql2012 | Restore-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance $new

# What about if you need to make a backup? And you are logging in with alternative credentials?
Get-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance $new -SqlCredential sqladmin | Backup-DbaDatabase

# Testing your backups is crazy easy!
Test-DbaLastBackup -SqlInstance $old | Out-GridView

# But what if you want to test your backups on a different server?
Test-DbaLastBackup -SqlInstance $old -Destination $new | Out-GridView

# Nowadays, we don't just backup databases. Now, we're backing up logins
Export-DbaLogin -SqlInstance $instance -Path C:\temp\logins.sql
Invoke-Item C:\temp\logins.sql

# And Agent Jobs
Get-DbaAgentJob -SqlInstance $old | Export-DbaScript -Path C:\temp\jobs.sql

# What if you just want to script out your restore?
Get-ChildItem -Directory \\workstation\backups\subset\ | Restore-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance $new -OutputScriptOnly -WithReplace | Out-File -Filepath c:\temp\restore.sql
Invoke-Item c:\temp\restore.sql

# You've probably heard about how easy migrations can be with dbatools. Here's an example
$startDbaMigrationSplat = @{
    Source = $old
    Destination = $new
    BackupRestore = $true
    SharedPath = 'C:\temp'
    Exclude = 'BackupDevice','SysDbUserObjects','Credentials'

Start-DbaMigration @startDbaMigrationSplat -Force | Select-Object * | Out-GridView

# Know how snapshots used to be a PITA? Now they're super easy
New-DbaDbSnapshot -SqlInstance $new -Database db1 -Name db1_snapshot
Get-DbaDbSnapshot -SqlInstance $new
Get-DbaProcess -SqlInstance $new -Database db1 | Stop-DbaProcess
Restore-DbaFromDatabaseSnapshot -SqlInstance $new -Database db1 -Snapshot db1_snapshot
Remove-DbaDbSnapshot -SqlInstance $new -Snapshot db1_snapshot # or -Database db1

# Have you tested your last good DBCC CHECKDB? We've got a command for that
$old | Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb | Out-GridView

# Here's how you can find your integrity jobs and easily start them. Then, you can watch them run, and finally check your newest DBCC CHECKDB results
$old | Get-DbaAgentJob | Where-Object Name -match integrity | Start-DbaAgentJob
$old | Get-DbaRunningJob
$old | Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb | Out-GridView

# Our new build website is super useful!

# You can use the same JSON the website uses to check the status of your own environment
$allservers | Get-DbaBuild

# We evaluated 37,545 SQL Server stored procedures on 9 servers in 8.67 seconds!
$new | Find-DbaStoredProcedure -Pattern dbatools

# Have an employee who is leaving? Find all of their objects.
$allservers | Find-DbaUserObject -Pattern ad\jdoe | Out-GridView

# Find detached databases, by example
Detach-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance $instance -Database AdventureWorks2012
Find-DbaOrphanedFile -SqlInstance $instance | Out-GridView

# Check out how complete our sp_configure command is
Get-DbaSpConfigure -SqlInstance $new | Out-GridView

# Easily update configuration values
Set-DbaSpConfigure -SqlInstance $new -ConfigName XPCmdShellEnabled -Value $true

# DB Cloning too!
Invoke-DbaDbClone -SqlInstance $new -Database db1 -CloneDatabase db1_clone | Out-GridView

# Read and watch XEvents
Get-DbaXESession -SqlInstance $new -Session system_health | Read-DbaXEFile
Get-DbaXESession -SqlInstance $new -Session system_health | Read-DbaXEFile | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Fields | Out-GridView

# Reset-DbaAdmin
Reset-DbaAdmin -SqlInstance $instance -Login sqladmin -Verbose
Get-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance $instance -SqlCredential sqladmin

# sp_whoisactive
Install-DbaWhoIsActive -SqlInstance $instance -Database master
Invoke-DbaWhoIsActive -SqlInstance $instance -ShowOwnSpid -ShowSystemSpids

# Diagnostic query!
$instance | Invoke-DbaDiagnosticQuery -UseSelectionHelper | Export-DbaDiagnosticQuery -Path $home
Invoke-Item $home

# Ola, yall
$instance | Install-DbaMaintenanceSolution -ReplaceExisting -BackupLocation C:\temp -InstallJobs

# Startup parameters
Get-DbaStartupParameter -SqlInstance $instance
Set-DbaStartupParameter -SqlInstance $instance -SingleUser -WhatIf

# Database clone
Invoke-DbaDbClone -SqlInstance $new -Database dbwithsprocs -CloneDatabase dbwithsprocs_clone

# Schema change and Pester tests
Get-DbaSchemaChangeHistory -SqlInstance $new -Database tempdb

# Get Db Free Space AND write it to table
Get-DbaDbSpace -SqlInstance $instance | Out-GridView
Get-DbaDbSpace -SqlInstance $instance -IncludeSystemDB | ConvertTo-DbaDataTable | Write-DbaDataTable -SqlInstance $instance -Database tempdb -Table DiskSpaceExample -AutoCreateTable
Invoke-DbaQuery -SqlInstance $instance -Database tempdb -Query 'SELECT * FROM dbo.DiskSpaceExample' | Out-GridView

# History
Get-Command -Module dbatools *history*

# Identity usage
Test-DbaIdentityUsage -SqlInstance $instance | Out-GridView

# Test/Set SQL max memory
$allservers | Get-DbaMaxMemory
$allservers | Test-DbaMaxMemory | Format-Table
$allservers | Test-DbaMaxMemory | Where-Object { $_.SqlMaxMB -gt $_.TotalMB } | Set-DbaMaxMemory -WhatIf
Set-DbaMaxMemory -SqlInstance $instance -MaxMb 1023

# Testing sql server linked server connections
Test-DbaLinkedServerConnection -SqlInstance $instance

# See protocols
Get-DbaServerProtocol -ComputerName $instance | Out-GridView

# Reads trace files - default trace by default
Read-DbaTraceFile -SqlInstance $instance | Out-GridView

# don't have remoting access? Explore the filesystem. Uses master.sys.xp_dirtree
Get-DbaFile -SqlInstance $instance

# Test your SPNs and see what'd happen if you'd set them
$servers | Test-DbaSpn | Out-GridView
$servers | Test-DbaSpn | Out-GridView -PassThru | Set-DbaSpn -WhatIf

# Get Virtual Log File information
Get-DbaDbVirtualLogFile -SqlInstance $new -Database db1
Get-DbaDbVirtualLogFile -SqlInstance $new -Database db1 | Measure-Object

Important Note

Alternative SQL Credentials

By default, all SQL-based commands will login to SQL Server using Trusted/Windows Authentication. To use alternative credentials, including SQL Logins or alternative Windows credentials, use the -SqlCredential. This parameter accepts the results of Get-Credential which generates a PSCredential object.

Get-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance sql2017 -SqlCredential sqladmin

A few (or maybe just one - Restore-DbaDatabase), you can also use -AzureCredential.

Alternative Windows Credentials

For commands that access Windows such as Get-DbaDiskSpace, you will pass the -Credential parameter.

$cred = Get-Credential ad\winadmin
Get-DbaDiskSpace -ComputerName sql2017 -Credential $cred

To store credentials to disk, please read more at Jaap Brasser's blog.

Servers with custom ports

If you use non-default ports and SQL Browser is disabled, you can access servers using a colon (functionality we've added) or a comma (the way Microsoft does it).

-SqlInstance sql2017:55559
-SqlInstance 'sql2017,55559'

Note that PowerShell sees commas as arrays, so you must surround the host name with quotes.

Using Start-Transcript

Due to an issue in the way PowerShell 5.1 works you need to use Import-Module dbatools before you run Start-Transcript. If this isn't done then your transcript will stop when the module is imported:

Import-Module dbatools
Get-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance sql2017


dbatools aims to support as many configurations as possible, including

  • PowerShell v3 and above
  • Windows, macOS and Linux
  • SQL Server 2000 - Current
  • Express - Datacenter Edition
  • Clustered and stand-alone instances
  • Windows and SQL authentication
  • Default and named instances
  • Multiple instances on one server
  • Auto-populated parameters for command-line completion (think -Database and -Login)

Read more at our website at