SQL Tip-7 | Different ways to enable a Trace Flag

Trace flags are used to temporarily set specific server characteristics or to switch off a particular behavior. There are many documented and undocumented trace flags. For example Trace Flag 1222 that can be used to get Deadlock Graph. In Trace Flag 1222 you get a detailed information about all the processes running and participating in the deadlock, which query they were running, what all resources were locked, what was the isolation level and what type of lock request was being blocked and why. You can use all this information to troubleshoot the problem.

You can switch-on Trace Flags either by using DBCC Commands or by Startup Parameters.

a. Enable Trace Flag using DBCC Commands

DBCC TraceON(1222)

Once the trace flag is enabled you can check the status by using DBCC TraceStatuscommand, it will provide an output similar to below screenshot.


In the above screenshot you can see that the trace flag 1222 has been enabled but on Session level. Means the trace flag will work for only the current session. If you want to enable this for the full instance you need to give one more parameter i.e., -1. This will enable the trace flag on global level. To enable the trace flag on Global level let’s first disable\switch off the trace flag on session level and then we’ll enable it on global level.

DBCC TraceOFF(1222)

DBCC TraceON(1222,-1)

Now let’s check the status one more time.


So the trace flag has been enabled on Global\Instance level.

b. Enable Trace Flag using –T Startup Option

SQLServer uses Startup Parameters during startup to find Master DB Data\Log & Error Log Files, along with this one can also specify some server wide Conditions. Most users do not need to use anything apart from Data\Log & Error log File paths, until and unless you want to change the default startup behavior of DB Engine.

Trace Flags are used to start the server with nonstandard behavior. When using this functionality use an Uppercase T to pass trace flags, a lower case t enables other internal flags that are required by only SQL Server support engineers. The -T startup option enables a trace flag globally. You cannot enable a session-level trace flag by using a startup option.

You can do this in SQL Server Configuration Manager, Choose the right SQL Server Service – right click and open properties. Follow the screenshot below to specify the trace flag and press Add. (the below screenshot is from SQLServer 2012)

Note: Changing any Startup Parameter\option needs a SQL Service Restart.



Happy Learning 🙂

Sarabpreet Singh Anand
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