Creating a Backup plan on SQL Express using Ola Hallengren’s scripts

SQL Express doesn’t have the SQL Server Agent so we can’t schedule jobs like normal. Follow this post to create a backup plan that will back up all the databases using Windows Task Scheduler.

  • Download CommandExecute –
  • Download DatabaseBackup –
  • Execute both of these stored procedures against the target server

Backups with Ola 1

  • Open Notepad on the target server and copy the following code changing the path to where the backups will be stored and the cleanup time. The cleanup time is specified in hours :
EXECUTE dbo.DatabaseBackup
@Databases = 'USER_DATABASES',
@Directory = 'C:\Backups',
@BackupType = 'FULL',
@Compress = 'Y', 
@CleanupTime = 48
  • Save the file with a .sql extension

Backups with Ola 2

  • Start the Task Scheduler by clicking on StartMenu/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Task Schedule
  • Click Create Basic Task to start the Scheduled Task Wizard
  • Type a name for the Task

Backups with Ola 3

  • Choose Daily from the scheduling options

Backups with Ola 4

  • Click Next, specify the information about the time to run the task. Set Start Time to an appropriate value when the load on the server is low. Set the recur every option to 1 day and click Next

Backups with Ola 5

  • Click Browse. Browse to SQLCMD.exe (C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\Client SDK\ODBC\110\Tools\Binn\SQLCMD.EXE) and then click Open
  • Type the following content to the Add arguments text box and then click Next
    • –S ServerName –i “c:\SQLScripts\SQLBackups.sql”

Backups with Ola 7

  • Select the checkbox to Open the Advanced Properties for this task and click Finish

Backups with Ola 8

  • Check Run whether user is logged in or not and Run with highest privileges under Security Options then click OK.

Backups with Ola 9


You may have to run this in the command prompt until it succeeds and copy exactly from CMD into the arguments section

Restore SQL Server Databases using DateTime functions

If you take full backups using SQL Server maintenance plans and let SQL Server use the default naming convention, you have probably noticed that usually you’ll have file name in the format of “database name + backup + date + time + .bak”. For example, a backup from the master database may look like this: “master_backup_2012_10_02_220558_8601773.bak”.  It can be a challenge to script out automatic restores because the numbers on the end of the backup name constantly change. In this tip I will explain how to script out RESTORE DATABASE statements using DateTime functions.

Let’s say we have a folder full of backups like this:

SQL Freelancer SQL Server Backup Restore Datetime Functions

Let’s say our boss wants us to restore Monday’s production backup (Alabama) every Friday afternoon to our development database (Tide). To accomplish this task, we can use the built-in SQL Server DateTime functions.

The below script will restore from the backup created on the first day of the current week.  I’ve added comments to explain the code.

-- Declare variables
DECLARE @backup nvarchar(200) 
DECLARE @datebegin datetime
DECLARE @dateend datetime

-- Initalize variables
-- Set @datebegin equal to the first day of the current week
SELECT @datebegin = DATEADD(wk,DATEDIFF(wk,0,GETDATE()),0)
-- Set @dateend equal to the second day of the current week 
SELECT @dateend = DATEADD(wk,DATEDIFF(wk,0,GETDATE()),1) 

-- Set @backup equal to query dependent on datebegin and dateend 
SELECT TOP 1 @backup = name + '.bak' 
FROM msdb..backupset 
WHERE database_name = 'Alabama' 
AND backup_start_date BETWEEN @datebegin AND @dateend 
AND type = 'D' -- D is for full backups
ORDER BY backup_start_date ASC 

USE [master]

-- Put DB in Single_User Mode

-- Restore DB using query from @backup variable

Below is a table of useful DateTime functions that you can use for the @datebegin and @dateend variables.

Yesterday SELECT DATEADD(d, -1, GETDATE())
First Day of Current Week SELECT DATEADD(wk, DATEDIFF(wk, 0, GETDATE()), 0)
Last Day of the Current Week SELECT DATEADD(wk, DATEDIFF(wk, 0, GETDATE()), 6)
First Day of the Current Month SELECT DATEADD(mm,DATEDIFF(mm,0,GETDATE()),0)
Last Day of the Current Month SELECT DATEADD(ms,- 3,DATEADD(mm,0,DATEADD(mm,DATEDIFF(mm,0,GETDATE())+1,0)))
First Day of the Current Year SELECT DATEADD(yy,DATEDIFF(yy,0,GETDATE()),0)
Last Day of the Current Year SELECT DATEADD(ms,-3,DATEADD(yy,0,DATEADD(yy,DATEDIFF(yy,0,GETDATE())+1,0)))

Another example may include where you need to take a backup from the first of the month of the production database and restore it weekly to the development database. In this situation you can edit the @datebegin and @dateend variables:

--Set @datebegin equal to the first day of the current month
SELECT @datebegin = DATEADD(mm,DATEDIFF(mm,0,GETDATE()),0) 

--Set @dateend equal to the second day of the current month

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