The SQL Server service may fail to start with I/O error message 38 in the tempdb database


The SQL Server service may fail to start and you may receive the following error messages in the SQL Server error logs or in the event viewer application log of the computer:

spid5 Clearing tempdb database.
spid5 Encountered an unexpected error while checking the sector size for file 'DRIVE:\SQLFOLDER\DATA\TEMPDB.MDF'. Check the SQL Server error log for more information.
spid5 CREATE DATABASE failed. Some file names listed could not be created. Check previous errors.
spid5 Error: 823, Severity: 24, State: 6
spid5 I/O error 38(Reached the end of the file.) detected during read at offset 0000000000000000 in file 'DRIVE:\SQLFOLDER\DATA\TEMPDB.MDF'.
spid5 WARNING: problem activating all tempdb files. See previous errors. Restart server with -f to correct the situation.
NOTE: This article applies only to the tempdb database.


  • Hardware problems.


  • Permissions problems.


To resolve this problem, use any of these methods:

  • Check the accessibility and condition of the device in question.

  • Run hardware diagnostics and correct problems, if possible.

  • Make sure that the disk drive (for example, C:\, D:\) where tempdb is located has sufficient NTFS permissions for the accounts that need access (that is, the account with which you start the SQL Server services, the system account, the Administrators group; all of these account must have Full Control).


For additional information, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

148437 Default NTFS Permissions in Windows NT
244600 Default NTFS Permissions in Windows 2000
266118 How to Restore the Default NTFS Permissions for Windows 2000
120929 How the System Account is Used in Windows
SQL Server 2000 Books Online; topic: "Error 823"