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How to Recover an Oracle Dropped Column

Expert Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonMarch 21, 2015

 

Question:  I accidentally dropped a table column in production, and I will be fired for sure unless I can restore the column before by boss finds out that I dropped the column. 

I see nothing in the Oracle documentation on restoring a dropped table column, but there must be some way to recover a dropped column.  I tried flashback but it seems that flashback doesn't support recovery of deleted column.  

How would you restore a column that was dropped accidentally?

Answer:  Yes, DBAs get fired for dropping production table columns, so act quickly!  DDL like an alter table drop column cannot be rolled back. 

The best way to remover this is to restore your last production backup into a test database, and roll-forward the table in question.

Then, re-create the column in production and copy-over the column data using a db_link!  

You still have several options for recovering a dropped table column, restoring the production database into a test area and recovering the column separately:

  • Data pump exports - If you care about the data in this table, you would have exported it nightly.

  •  RMAN - You can recover a single dropped table by restoring the entire database into your test environment using RMAN, and then roll forward. You can then extract the table and copy it from test to production using CTAS over a database link and then re-add the indexes and constraints.

  •  LogMiner - Oracle LogMiner can used to recover a dropped table.  See here, the steps to recover a dropped table using LogMiner.

  • Flashback - It's easy to recover a dropped table with these steps in flashback.

Once the table has been recovered into test and rolled forward up to the point of the alter table drop column, you can then re-add the column into production and copy over the column data!

 Remember, to recover a dropped table column we must recover the entire table first, into a non-production instance.  

Similarly, what if a whole table had been dropped?  Follow the link for more insight into how to recover a dropped table.

 
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