How to View or Open MDF File without Installing SQL Server

There are multiple cases when a user wants to open MDF file without SQL Server. In big organizations, professionals do share their SQL database so that a large number of MDF files could easily manage, and people can learn from the existing file by view MDF file. So this way MDF or LDF file and tell you that you need to open SQL database MDF file.

An MDF file is a binary kind of file which is not reliable to be “open” file in an application. Since it is the main database file and can be attached to a running SQL Server to access the data using Transact SQL Statements.

The First approach to open MDF file using SSMS

SSMS is the short form of well known SQL Server Management Studio, it is an inbuilt software application launched along with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 which is basically used for configuring, managing, and administering all components and items within Microsoft SQL Server.
Now, you try to open or View MDF file, then you might get the following error

MDF files are SQL server database files and LDF files are log files which is associated with MDF files. But it is quite complex to open them instead, they can only viewable to the user. Hence to see the database it is required to attach MDF file.

How to attach MDF file in SQL Server Management Studio?

Follow each step and attach your database file and make it available to view SQL database MDF file.

Let’s get started.

Step1:- Launch SSMS
Step2:- Connect to an instance of your SQL Server Database Engine
Step3:– Now click to get the expanded view of instance SSMS
Step4:– In Object Explorer, right click on the database
Step5:- Now in the dialog box, identify the database to be attached,
Step6:- Click Add
Step7:- In the Locate Database Files dialog box, select the disk drive which holds the database
Step8:- Now, you can also expand the directory tree from where it become easy to find and select the .mdf file of the database.

For example:

Possible error to Open or view SQL Database MDF file with SSMS

If your MDF file is successfully attached then you don’t need to worry about following errors. But, at times it is quite possible that you may get following errors. 
Let us put some light on them!
  • Access Denied
  • Access Denied Variation 2
  • The Database is Read Only
  • Unable to downgrade

The Second approach to view MDF file using Aryson SQL Viewer

Aryson SQL Viewer is an ultimate tool which enable users to view all tables, column, triggers, keys, indexes etc. Best option to scan even corrupt and inaccessible SQL server database file and make a user to view MDF file smoothly. No need to have any extra technical knowledge to work with the software as it is built with simple, easy and user friendly interface. SQL Viewer is advanced to handle different kinds of corruption that are standard and advanced.
Using this third – party tool you can easily view SQL Database MDF file without any manual efforts!

Final words

When you have an easy, simple option to view and open SQL database MDF file then why to even think about any other approach. In this blog, I have tried to cover both approaches, now it’s your turn to choose wisely as per your need. If I say never go for any complex solution when you have the simple basic option.

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