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Setting Server Configuration Options

You can manage and optimize SQL Server resources through configuration options by using SQL Server Management Studio or the sp_configure system stored procedure. The most commonly used server configuration options are available through SQL Server Management Studio; all configuration options are accessible through sp_configure. Consider the effects on your system carefully before setting these options.

Important noteImportant

Advanced options should be changed only by an experienced database administrator or certified SQL Server technician.

When using sp_configure, you must run either RECONFIGURE or RECONFIGURE WITH OVERRIDE after setting a configuration option. The RECONFIGURE WITH OVERRIDE statement is usually reserved for configuration options that should be used with extreme caution. However, RECONFIGURE WITH OVERRIDE works for all configuration options, and you can use it in place of RECONFIGURE.


RECONFIGURE executes within a transaction. If any of the reconfigure operations fail, none of the reconfigure operations will take effect.

The value for each option can be determined with the following statement.

SELECT * FROM sys.configurations
ORDER BY name ;

The following example shows how to use sp_configure to change the fill factor option from its default setting to a value of 100.

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;
sp_configure 'fill factor', 100;

Configuration options take effect either:

  • Immediately after setting the option and issuing the RECONFIGURE (or in some cases, RECONFIGURE WITH OVERRIDE) statement.


  • After performing the above actions and restarting the instance of SQL Server.

To configure an advanced option, you must first run sp_configure with the 'show advanced options' option set to 1, and then run RECONFIGURE, as shown in the following example.

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;
sp_configure 'cursor threshold', 0;

The cursor threshold option is reconfigured immediately. The new value for cursor threshold appears in the configuration options value_in_use column and the value column.

Options that require SQL Server to restart will initially show the changed value only in the value column. After restart, the new value will appear in both the value column and the value_in_use column.

Some options require a server restart before the new configuration value takes effect. If you set the new value and run sp_configure before restarting the server, the new value appears in the configuration options value column, but not in the value_in_use column. After restarting the server, the new value appears in the value_in_use column.

Self-configuring options are those that SQL Server adjusts according to the needs of the system. In most cases, this eliminates the need for setting the values manually. Examples include the min server memory and max server memory options and the user connections option.

The following table lists all available configuration options, the range of possible settings, and default values. Configuration options are marked with letter codes as follows:

Updated content

Updated the affinity64 mask option to indicate that a restart is necessary.

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