Reset Identity Column Values In SQL Server

IDENTITY Property is a feature used with the CREATE or ALTER TABLE commands and is used to generate unique values for a column. The main reason behind using IDENTITY property is to keep the columns unique.

Generally, in the industry’s production environment, when the tables are highly loaded, there are high chances the data can just get mixed up. An IDENTITY property on a table can simply be easy to identify the column even on a table holding thousands of records.

General Syntax:

IDENTITY [ (seed , increment) ]

Seed – Seed is the value assigned to the initial row for a table

Increment – Increment is the value assigned to the IDENTITY value that will be an incremental addition to the previous row count

The value passed default when seed and the increment are not assigned while creating IDENTITY property is (1,1).

A common error encountered before fixing the IDENTITY RESEED is as below:

 Let’s check the steps to reseed the IDENTITY value. 

Step 1: Create a table as [IDENTITY_TEST]

create table [IDENTITY_TEST]
(ID int identity(1,1) not null,
number int,
subnumber int

Step 2: Insert records into [IDENTITY_TEST] table

Identity Reseed 1

Step 3: Check the max of ID on [IDENTITY_TEST] table

select max(ID) from IDENTITY_TEST

Identity Reseed 2

Step 4: Check IDENTITY column value


Here the identity scope value should be 6 but is giving an output as 2. The reason could be multiple and is mentioned at the end of the article. 

Identity Reseed 3

Step 5: Reset IDENTITY SCOPE to the current max ID value


Identity Reseed 4

If you would notice that the IDENTITY property was anonymously set to ID=2. The possible reasons for IDENTITY property to go out of order are when any one of below happens on your table:

1. Server restart or Database failure – this is part of the SQL Server’s performance reasons where the Identity value gets cached.
When there is a BULK LOAD on your table.
Heavy DML transactions (Insert/Update/Delete operation).
Transaction replication out of Synch.
If a transaction is initiated and left uncommit. 

Note: Some of the IDENTITY scope values being cached to the older numbers are moreover unavoidable and has to be manually reset with the above steps.

You may also refer: 'Steps to add/remove identity property in SQL Server'


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