We have already covered how to back up a SQL Server database from the command line, so what if you want to backup all your databases at once? You could create a batch script which runs the backup command for each database, but this script would have to be updated each time a database is added or removed. Additionally, the database backups will all be appended to one file which will grow by the size of the new backup each time it is run. Instead, in true “set it and forget it” fashion, we will create a batch script which will adapt to your SQL Server as new databases are added and removed.

To get right to the point, this is the backup script:


REM Get date in format YYYY-MM-DD (assumes the locale is the United States)
FOR /F “tokens=1,2,3,4 delims=/ ” %%A IN (‘Date /T’) DO SET NowDate=%%D-%%B-%%C

REM Build a list of databases to backup
SET DBList=%SystemDrive%SQLDBList.txt
SqlCmd -E -S MyServer -h-1 -W -Q “SET NoCount ON; SELECT Name FROM master.dbo.sysDatabases WHERE [Name] NOT IN (‘master’,’model’,’msdb’,’tempdb’)” > “%DBList%”

REM Backup each database, prepending the date to the filename
FOR /F “tokens=*” %%I IN (%DBList%) DO (
ECHO Backing up database: %%I
SqlCmd -E -S MyServer -Q “BACKUP DATABASE [%%I] TO Disk=’D:Backup%NowDate%_%%I.bak'”

REM Clean up the temp file
IF EXIST “%DBList%” DEL /F /Q “%DBList%”


Assuming the date is 1/13/2009 and you have 3 databases named ‘MyDB’, ‘AnotherDB’ and ‘DB Name with Spaces’, the script will produce 3 files in the backup location specified:

  • 2009-01-13_AnotherDB.bak
  • 2009-01-13_DB Name with Spaces.bak
  • 2009-01-13_MyDB.bak

Customizing and Running the Batch Script

Of course, you will want to customize the script to your environment so here is what you need to do:

  • If your machine’s locale is not set to the US, the command ‘Date /T’ may not return the date in the format “Tue 01/13/2009”. If this is case, the NowDate variable will not produce the desired format and should be adjusted. (1 place)
  • Change ‘MyServer’ to be the name of your SQL Server (add the instance name if applicable). (2 places)
  • The databases named ‘master’, ‘model’, ‘msdb’ and ‘tempdb’ are databases which ship with SQL Server. You can add additional database names to this list if you do not want them to be backed up. (1 place)
  • Change the backup location from ‘D:Backup’ to the location where you want the database backup files stored.

Once you have customized the batch script, schedule it to run via Windows Task Scheduler as a user with Administrator rights and you are all set.