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Notes on changing SQL Server's Collation

The SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS collation is a legacy collation and we are recommended by Microsoft to use the supported Latin1_General_CI_AS. So when I was installing a cluster recently to host the databases for SCOM 2012 I chose the latter. This was a mistake as unfortunately it still requires the old collation

How to change a SQL Server's collation after you've installed it is well documented and so is the command, but there are a couple of gotchas that might be worth remembering.

The command executed from a cmd.exe window is:

z:\Setup /QUIET /ACTION=REBUILDDATABASE /INSTANCENAME=MSSQLSERVER /SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS=domain\AUser /SAPWD=MyPassword /SQLCOLLATION=SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS

  • Probably due to the /QUIET option virtually no progress or errors are returned - you just need to wait for five minutes looking at an empty DOS box while it does its thing.
  • The user account name and SA password should not be in quotes or square brackets
  • The SQL services need to be stopped for the command to work. BUT, just as you think that it has completed successfully you find the collation hasn't changed despite no errors. The output from the DOS window may say the command completed but check out the log file it points to and you may find that there is an error listed due to an open connection to the database. In my case this was because sqlwriter.exe was running (it doesn't have an associated service). Kill the process using Task Manager and try again.
  • When in Mixed Mode the SAPWD (SA password) option has to be included. 
 I hope these small points help.




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