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SQL Server newsletter for the month of December 2001
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Welcome to the third issue of this monthly SQL Server newsletter brought to you by and thank you for subscribing. This newsletter will familiarize you with all the new and updated content at It will also provide you with tips and links to valuable SQL Server related information that is worth a read.

For our new subscribers, we have created a newsletter archive, containing the previous issues of this newsletter. Visit:

If you are interested in receiving information on a particular aspect of Microsoft SQL Server, feel free to mail us at . We hope you will find this information useful.

We wish you a merry Christmas and happy new year. To pickup your greeting card,
click here!

Information in this newsletter is divided into the following sections:

What's new at <top>

The following new articles were published:

The undocumented nature of sp_readerrorlog in SQL Server 2000
Learn how to use sp_readerrorlog to read and search any file on the disk, not just error logs

What are federated databases?
This article discusses all the basic aspects of federated databases (partitioned views), to get you started

How to track database file growth over a period of time?
Download this stored procedure to find out the growth patterns of your databases. Tracking database file growths, helps you understand the rate at which your database is growing, so that you can plan ahead for your future storage needs

Implementing row level security in SQL Server databases
Learn how to implement row level security/permissions using a combination of views and stored procedures effectively

A new FAQ section "
Microsoft SQL Server tools FAQ" is added. It covers frequently asked questions regarding SQL Server tools like Enterprise Manager, Query Analyzer and other third party tools

Recreated the "
SQL Server Books" page with a complete new collection of books covering various categories like programming, administration, XML, performance, backup/restore, DTS, replication and more

Updated the "
SQL Server resources" page with new and useful resources

Updated the "
SQL Server service packs and versions" page with the version information of newly released SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 2. Also, discussed various approaches towards finding the SQL Server service pack and version, apart from using the @@VERSION global variable

Enhanced the functionality of
PROPERCASE function and stored procedure to make it more flexible

New questions added to "
SQL Server programming FAQ"

Updated "
Database coding conventions, best practices, programming guidelines" with new information

Enhanced the functionality of this unique stored procedure,
sp_generate_inserts, which scripts your existing data in the form of INSERT statements. Here are the enhancements:

  • Enhanced the handling of text columns
  • Added the new parameter @disable_constraints to take care of constraint violations
  • A problem with handling nullable uniqueidentifier columns is fixed
  • Handled the scenario of omitting all columns gracefully
  • Improved the performance, by avoiding excessive string manipulations

Updated the article "SQL Server security best practices"

Updated the "
Typical SQL Server newsgroup, usenet lingo and abbreviations" page with new abbreviations

What's new from Microsoft? <top>

Security alert from Microsoft!
SQL Server Text Formatting Functions Contain Unchecked Buffers

SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 2 is released.
Download , Fixlist , Readme.txt

Microsoft has updated the user interface of the entire support network including the knowledgebase site.
Check out the new look of knowledgebase

Ever wondered why SQL Server chose to recompile your stored procedure all of a sudden? With SQL Server 2000 SP2, Profiler shows you the reason for recompilation. For more information:
INF: How to Identify the Cause of Recompilation in a SP:Recompile Event (Q308737)

Looking for programmatic alternative to using Profiler? Learn how to create trace, using stored procedures:
INF: How to Create a SQL Server 2000 Trace (Q283790)

Useful information from other SQL Server based websites <top>

New Worm Targets Microsoft SQL Servers
This new worm attacks SQL Server installations with mixed mode security and blank 'sa' password.

Read about the future storage system that Microsoft is going to come up with:
MS poised to switch Windows file systems with Blackcomb

Using Windows Security with IIS and SQL Server 2000

Looking for information on how SQL Server fares against Oracle? Here are some useful links to get you started with the hot "SQL Server vs. Oracle" topic:

Tips <top>

1) Did you know, in Query Analyzer, you can bring up help topics, by hilighting a the required keyword and pressing Shift + F1?

For example, connect to SQL Server using Query Analyzer. Type the command "DBCC SHOWCONTIG". Hilight the command using your keyboard or mouse and press Shift + F1. It will bring up the Books Online page with the documentation of DBCC SHOWCONTIG.

2) Did you know, SQL Server Books Online pages can be identified using URLs too, just like web pages?

You can try any of these two techniques to get the URL of any page in SQL Server Books Online:

  • Right click on any Books Online page, select 'Properties' from the popup menu. This brings up the Properties dialog box. Copy the contents of the field titled "Address: (URL)", by hilighting and copying using your mouse.
  • Open Books Online. Right click on the Books Online window in your task bar and select "Jump to URL..." from the popup menu. Copy the URL from the "Current URL: " by hilighting and copying using your mouse.

Now that you have the URL, you can:

  • paste it in the address bar of Internet Explorer to bring up the Books Online page.
  • invoke the Books Online page, by executing the URL from Start -> Run.
  • Email the URL to your fellow DBA/developer.

No part of this newsletter may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. Feel free to forward this newsletter, in its entirety only, to friends and colleagues.

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Copyright 2001 Narayana Vyas Kondreddi. All rights reserved.