Find Last Restart of SQL Server

Here are a few different ways that you can tell when SQL Server was last started.

Method 1: sys.dm_os_sys_info

This DMV, sys.dm_os_sys_info, contains a column that holds the startup time for SQL Server. You can run the following command to find the start time.

SELECT sqlserver_start_time FROM sys.dm_os_sys_info


Method 2: SQL Server Error Log

If you open the current SQL Server error log in SSMS under Management > SQL Server Logs and scroll to the bottom of the error log you can see when the server was started. Note the highlighted text below “SQL Server is starting”.  You will want to look for this to make sure the error log was not cycled and give you a false impression of the start time.

sql server error log start up time

Here is an example of a cycled error log and note the highlighted text.   If you see this you will need to look at a previous error log until you find the log that contains the information in the image above.

sql server log initialized

Note: if you are running the Express edition of SQL Server you cannot read the error logs directly from SSMS, but you can use xp_readerrorlog or navigate to the folder where the log files are stored and use a text editor to read the SQL Server error log files.

Method 3: Dashboard Reports

Another option is to use the SQL Server Dashboard Report.  Right click on the server name in SSMS and select Reports > Server Reports > Server Dashboard and you will get a report similar to the following.

sql server dashboard report

Method 4: Windows Event Viewer

Another option is to use Windows Event Viewer to look for the startup time.  If you open Windows Event Viewer and filter your Event Sources (in our case MSSQL$SQL2008) for the SQL Server instance and Event ID 17162 you can find all of the startup times that are still in the Event Viewer log.

windows event viewer start time

Here is a partial listing of the startup times for this instance.

windows event viewer sql startup log


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