Author's Note: I received an interesting question from a reader about backups, and I thought I'd share this information with you.

Q: I'm working with a customer who's requesting an initial full backup and monthly incremental backups of specific tables in my database. I'm not aware of any way to back up individual tables. Can you provide a solution?

--Dan Collins

A: This question is interesting because neither SQL Server 2005 Express nor the other SQL Server 2005 editions provide a function to back up and restore individual tables. The main reason for this design choice is to ensure database integrity. Relational databases consist of sets of integrated tables, and transactions usually affect more than one table. Backing up and restoring individual tables has the potential to corrupt a database's integrity by letting you restore some tables but possibly not others that might have related changes. That's the reason Microsoft doesn't include this capability with SQL Server 2005. Although some third-party backup products have this capability, I recommend doing a full database backup and doing differential backups at more frequent intervals than the one requested by the customer.

Hope this helps, and as always, it's great to hear from our readers.

-- Michael Otey, mikeo@windowsitpro.com