"System.OutOfMemoryException" exception when you execute a query in SQL Server Management Studio

Applies to: SQL Server 2012 ExpressSQL Server 2012 DeveloperSQL Server 2012 Enterprise More

Symptoms


When you use Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to run an SQL query that returns a large amount of data, you receive an error message that resembles the following:
An error occurred while executing batch. Error message is: Exception of type 'System.OutOfMemoryException' was thrown

Cause


This issue occurs because SSMS has insufficient memory to allocate for large results.

Note SSMS is a 32-bit process. Therefore, it is limited to 2 GB of memory. SSMS imposes an artificial limit on how much text that can be displayed per database field in the results window. This limit is 64 KB in "Grid" mode and 8 KB in "Text" mode. If the result set is too large, the memory that is required to display the query results may surpass the 2 GB limit of the SSMS process. Therefore, a large result set can cause the error that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section.

Workaround


To work around this issue, try one of the following methods.

Method 1: Output the results as text

Configure the query window to output the query results as text. A text output uses less memory than the grid, and it may be sufficient to display the query results. To make this change, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click the query window.
  2. Click Results to.
  3. Click Results to Text.

Method 2: Output the results to a file

Configure the query window to output the query results to a file. A file output uses a minimal amount of memory. This reserves more memory for storing the results set. To make this change, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click the query window.
  2. Click Results to.
  3. Click Results To File.
  4. Run the query, and then select the location in which to save the results file.

Method 3: Use sqlcmd

Use the sqlcmd tool instead of SSMS to run the SQL queries. This method enables queries to be run without the resources that are required by the SSMS UI. Additionally, you can use the 64-bit version of Sqlcmd.exe to avoid the memory restriction that affects the 32-bit SSMS process.

Status


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.