System Databases in SQL Server


In SSMS, we many of may noticed System Databases under the Database Folder. But how many of us knows its purpose?. In this article lets discuss about the System Databases in SQL Server.

System Database

Fig. 1 System Databases

There are five system databases, these databases are created while installing SQL Server.

  • Master
  • Model
  • MSDB
  • Tempdb
  • Resource


  • This database contains all the System level Information in SQL Server. The Information in form of Meta data.
  • Because of this master database, we are able to access the SQL Server (On premise SQL Server)


  • This database is used as a template for new databases.
  • Whenever a new database is created, initially a copy of model database is what created as new database.


  • This database is where a service called SQL Server Agent stores its data.
  • SQL server Agent is in charge of automation, which includes entities such as jobs, schedules, and alerts.


  • The Tempdb is where SQL Server stores temporary data such as work tables, sort space, row versioning information and etc.
  • User can create their own version of temporary tables and those are stored in Tempdb.
  • But this database is destroyed and recreated every time when we restart the instance of SQL Server.


  • The resource database is a hidden, read only database that holds the definitions of all system objects.
  • When we query system object in a database, they appear to reside in the sys schema of the local database, but in actually their definitions reside in the resource db.

System Databases Do’s and Don’ts

Data Access
  • Based on the version of SQL Server query only the recommended objects.  In general the system database objects are being deprecated to a set of views, so be sure all of your scripts are accessing the right objects.  If not, you are going to have a big project in the future to convert all of your scripts.
Changing Objects
  • Do not change system objects.  In SQL Server 2005 all of the database objects have been moved to the Resource database which stores the definition for the system objects and can be updated via new SQL Server releases independent of the data.
New Objects 
  • Creating objects in the system databases is not recommended.  If you have objects that are needed for the instance i.e. administrative items, just create a separate DBA database to store these objects.
Sneaking a Peak
  • Up to this point, all of the T-SQL code for the tables, views, stored procedures, functions, etc. has been clear text.  So you can review the objects and learn from the techniques used by Microsoft.
Dropping Objects
  • The most prominent reason to drop system objects are for specific types of lock downs and auditing in particular industries.  Although some of those practices are well documented, be sure you understand the ramifications related to administering and developing applications once those restrictions are in place.
  • Do not forget about the Public role and Guest user, they are the conduit for users to access the system objects.  So that should answer the question of how people (logins\users) can access the objects based on the object owner or schema, depending on the SQL Server version.
  • Be sure to have a consistent backup process for your system databases.  Including the system databases with your user defined databases might be the best approach if a disaster occurs.
  • Each SQL Server instance (including the Express Edition) has its own set of SQL Server system databases.  As such, if a single Windows server has multiple SQL Server instances installed, a change to one system database only impacts the single instance, not all instances on the Windows server.


In this article, We have discussed about the System Databases and I hope you all found this article useful. Please share your feedback in the comment section.

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