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Can you brief me on how to check and understand a query execution plan in SQL Server?
From my perspective, the best approach to review a SQL Server query plan is via the graphical approach with either Management Studio or Query Analyzer. Just review the tool bar on each application to find the correct icon. After you run the query, you will see the graphical query plan in the results section of the window as a separate tab. From that point forward, hover your mouse over the icon on the far left of the window to obtain the overall sub tree cost. Then review the other icons with high percentages of the query plan to determine the potential issues. As you make changes to the query, continue to review the query plan and validate the overall sub tree cost is decreasing.