SQL tasks automation: apply scripts from folder

You will be amazed how common this question is:

I have a folder with arbitrary set of SQL scripts and want to apply them all automatically. How do I do that?

In other words:

  • Having a folder – ex: C:\AutoSQLScripts – with some unknown set of SQL scripts
  • And a SQL Instance where scripts need to be applied
  • Run a scheduled task to perform the operation automatically.


First, lets figure out single operation – run SQL Script from command line in unattended mode using osql utility:

osql -S MYSERVER -d MYDATABASE -E -i MySqlScript.sql  -o report.txt


-S indicates server name
-d is an alternative to USE db_name inside the script
-E indicates that trusted connection would be used
-i identifies the file that contains a batch of SQL statements
-o identifies the file that receives output from osql

Simple so far…

Fun starts when we need to go through files in the folder. Using “magic” of Power Shell, it is also easy:

FOR /f "TOKENS=*" %%a IN ('dir /b "%1*.sql"') do ECHO %%a
IF (NOT %_PATH%=="") SET _PATH = '-p "%_PATH%"'
FORFILES %_PATH% -s -m *.* -c "CMD /C ECHO @FILE"

Let’s ignore the end for now and concentrate on the syntax of the loop itself.

FOR /f indicates that we need to perform a loop against a set of files specified in IN. To produce the set we are using “raw” dir of the folder, where %1 is, if specified, an input param of the batch file call.

FORFILES is a little more complex and given here for comparison, yet produces the same result.

Note: commands above work only with “local” (drive: based) locations. If you need apply scripts from Network folder, map it first as a local drive then apply scripts.

Now let’s combine SQL call with the batch processing and we would get the following ApplyScript.cmd which could be used to apply any scripts from current or specific folder to specified SQL Server/Database instance:

FOR /f "TOKENS=*" %%a IN ('dir /b %1*.sql') DO CALL osql -S %_SERVER% -d %_DB% -E -i %%a  -o report.txt


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