I'm new to this ArcSDE stuff and would like to know the best way to cleanly delete an SQL Server database in order to delete the ArcSDE geodatabase. Is it as easy as right clicking on the database in SQL Server and hitting delete? Or is there a more preferred way to do this?

Also, is there a way to rename the SQL server database that the ArcSDE geodatabase is using? Or is it best to just start fresh with a new database?

  • You need to 'kill' all connections first - help.arcgis.com/en/geodatabase/10.0/admin_cmds/support_files/… Then Shutdown. or SDE persists connections.
    – Mapperz
    Feb 22, 2013 at 21:56
  • Whenever I try a command it returns "Entry for SDE instance not found in service file, Unable to get instance configuration"
    – ianbroad
    Feb 22, 2013 at 22:14
  • The sde database is SQL db. And the SQL db is the sde db. The schema with triggers and other internal relates are what make it sde gdb. This can ALL operate now without sde installed via direct connect.
    – Brad Nesom
    Feb 23, 2013 at 5:04
  • But in order to do versioning, SDE is required, right?
    – ianbroad
    Feb 23, 2013 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


Until ArcSDE 10.0 you need to install ArcSDE on the server. You have two possibilies to connect to the Server: Direct Connect or Application Server.

If you configured the DB for application server connections you had to create an sde service. In that case you have to do the following steps to delete the SDE-DB in SQL Server:

  • kill all connections to the SDE DB (using sdemon)
  • delete the ArcSDE service (sdeservice -o delete)
  • remove a keyword from the Windows registry (sdeservice -o unregister -r ADMIN_DATABASE -d SQLSERVER -v SDE) -v is the name of your DB and have not to be SDE
  • remove the entry in the sde and windows service files (%windir%\system32\drivers\etc\services and %SDEHOME%\etc\services.sde)
  • drop the database in SQL Server (e.g. right clicking on the database in SQL Server Management Studio)

If you configured the DB for direct connect you don't need the sde service. And if you have no service created, you just need to drop the database in SQL Server.

As Brad Nesom mentioned, with ArcSDE 10.1 you don't have to install ArcSDE on the Server if you use direct connect. You don't even need to install the ArcSDE command line tools on the server, since you have the most necessary management tools in ArcCatalog and ArcToolbox 10.1. There is a good post to this topic by Russell Brennan (from ESRI): http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/57375-Why-would-I-install-ArcSDE-with-10.1

It is much cleaner and faster to start fresh with a new database and to load the data from the old database into the new database, than to rename the database in SQL Server.

  • Could you explain how to "drop" the database in SQL Server? I have the Management Studio opened and when I right click on a database I see the open to "delete" but not drop. Where do I find the drop command? And what exactly does drop do? Or is delete the same as drop within Management Studio?
    – ianbroad
    Apr 12, 2013 at 14:01
  • You are right. In Management Studio you have to right click on the database and click delete. Alternatively you can use the DROP DATABASE Command (T-SQL).
    – Saleika
    Apr 12, 2013 at 17:01

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