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All about data purging

What is data purging? What technology or method can I use to purge data in SQL Server 2000?

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Data purging is deleting data that you no longer want. In SQL Server 2000, or in fact in any database system, the very first step is to make sure you have a copy of it, because you might want to restore it some day.

There are many ways to make sure you have a copy of your data. For example, you can back up the entire database. Or you could take a copy of only those rows about to be purged. In SQL Server, you have the very handy SELECT INTO FROM syntax:

select *
  into old_accounts_2003
  from current_accounts
 where account_lastactive < '2004-01-01'
Once that's done, you can go ahead and delete:
  from current_accounts
 where account_lastactive < '2004-01-01'
Remember, always make sure you can restore it before you purge it.

This was first published in July 2005

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