Understanding ALTER DATABASE DROP LOGFILE MEMBER in Oracle Databases

Understanding ALTER DATABASE DROP LOGFILE MEMBER in Oracle Databases

Learn how to use ALTER DATABASE DROP LOGFILE MEMBER to remove redo log file members in Oracle databases. Get insights, explanations, and best practices.

Sample SQL Command

1alter database drop logfile member '<filename>';


In Oracle databases, the ALTER DATABASE DROP LOGFILE MEMBER command is used to permanently remove individual redo log file members from a redo log group. Redo log files are essential for database recovery, as they store a record of all changes made to the database.

Key Use Cases

  • Reclaiming disk space: Dropping unused redo log file members frees up disk space.
  • Troubleshooting: Removing corrupted or damaged log file members.
  • Database maintenance: Simplifying database management by reducing the number of redo log files.

Code Breakdown

  • ALTER DATABASE: Initiates changes to the database configuration.
  • DROP LOGFILE MEMBER: Specifies the action – deleting a redo log file member.
  • '<filename>': The exact file name (including path) of the redo log file member to be dropped.

Key Points and Insights

  • Prerequisites: The log file member must be inactive and not part of the current redo log group.
  • Cannot be Undone: This operation is permanent. Exercise caution.
  • Impact on Recovery: Dropping redo log files can affect your ability to recover the database to a specific point-in-time. Ensure you have adequate backups.


  • Redo Log Files: Oracle databases use redo log files to ensure data integrity and recoverability. Changes to data blocks are first written to the redo log files before being written to the data files.
  • Redo Log Groups: A redo log group is a collection of redo log files. Oracle databases require at least two redo log groups.
  • Redo Log File Members: Each redo log group can have multiple members (copies) for redundancy and protection against media failures.

Best Practices

  • Ensure the log file you want to drop is inactive before attempting the operation.
  • Force a log switch, if necessary, to switch the active log files.
  • Have a robust backup strategy in place before dropping redo log file members.


  • After dropping a redo log file member, the control file is updated, but the operating system file isn't automatically deleted. Use an appropriate operating system command to remove it.
  • Use Oracle Managed Files if you want Oracle to handle the cleanup of operating system files.


Oracle Documentation: ALTER DATABASE: https://docs.oracle.com/en/database/oracle/oracle-database/23/sqlrf/ALTER-DATABASE.html

Oracle Data Guard Concepts and Administration: https://docs.oracle.com/en/database/oracle/oracle-database/23/cncpt/index.html (for supplemental logging)

Posts in this series