Backing Up Multiple Databases in an Instance of SQL Server

Sometimes things that seem complicated are much easier than you think and this is the power of using T-SQL to take care of repetitive tasks. One of these tasks may be the need to backup all databases on your server. This is not a big deal if you have a handful of databases, but some servers have 100+ databases on the same instance of SQL Server. You could use SQL Server Management Studio to backup the databases or even use Maintenance Plans, but using T-SQL is a much simpler and faster approach.


With the use of T-SQL, you can generate your backup commands and with the use of cursors you can cursor through all of your databases to back them up one by one. This is a very straight forward process and you only need a handful of commands to do this. 

Here is a script that will allow you to backup each database within your instance of SQL Server. You will need to change the @path to the appropriate backup directory.

File Naming Format DBname_YYYYDDMM.BAK

DECLARE @name VARCHAR(50) — database name 

DECLARE @path VARCHAR(256) — path for backup files 

DECLARE @fileName VARCHAR(256) — filename for backup 

DECLARE @fileDate VARCHAR(20) — used for file name

— specify database backup directory

SET @path = ‘C:\Backup\’ 

— specify filename format




FROM master.dbo.sysdatabases

WHERE name NOT IN (‘master’,’model’,’msdb’,’tempdb’)  — exclude these databases

OPEN db_cursor  

FETCH NEXT FROM db_cursor INTO @name  



       SET @fileName = @path + @name + ‘_’ + @fileDate + ‘.BAK’ 

       BACKUP DATABASE @name TO DISK = @fileName 

       FETCH NEXT FROM db_cursor INTO @name  


CLOSE db_cursor  

DEALLOCATE db_cursor

File Naming Format DBname_YYYYDDMM_HHMMSS.BAK

If you want to also include the time in the filename you can replace this line in the above script:

— specify filename format

with this line:

— specify filename format

Additional Info

In this script we are bypassing the system databases, but these could easily be included as well. You could also change this into a stored procedure and pass in a database name or if left NULL it backups all databases. Any way you choose to use it, this script gives you the starting point to simply backup all of your databases.

Also, if you wanted to bypass some of your user databases you can include them in the NOT IN section as well.

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