Careful with autogrowth!

A few months ago I was invited by a customer to do an audit of their SQL Servers.
One of the issues that I found was the “implementation” of the autogrowth settings, like growth with 1MB or growth in %.
This week, they invited me back to perform the corrective actions on the issues that I have found.
I was manually modifying the autogrowth setting of one of the databases and I made a mistake… Instead of changing the value of MB I accidently changed the % value into 1024. To my surprise the SSMS accepted this value.
I expected that the percentage value couldn’t go above 100%. Wrong guess … J.
My mistake triggered me to perform some testing on the autogrowth setting.

Let’s see if it’s actually grows with 1024%.
I just created a simple DB with an initial data size of 10 MB and change the autogrowth to 1024%. (Don’t mind the autogrowth setting of the log file.)
I’ve done my tests on a SQL 2012 and on a SQL 2014 instance.

After loading some data into my database, my file actually has grown with 1024%!

(10 MB x 1024%) + 10 MB (initial size) = 112,4 MB !

Let’s see if we can push it a little bit further. What can be the maximum value of the percent growth?
Well, it turns out if you enter a large number like 9999999999 in the GUI, it will change it back to the following value 2147483647, which is the maximum value of an integer.
I’ve tried the same with T-SQL statement

ALTER DATABASE [testgrowth] MODIFY FILE ( NAME = N'testgrowth', FILEGROWTH = 9999999999%)

and I’ve got the error
Incorrect syntax near ‘9999999999’.

When I changed the 9999999999 into 2147483647%, my query ended successfully! As soon as you enter one digit higher than 2147483647, independent if you’re using KB, MB, GB, %,… after the number, the SSMS sees it as an “Incorrect syntax”.

So now we know what the limits are for % but are these the same when you choose, autogrowth in MB?
Let’s give it a try. I entered 9999999999 into the MB autogrowth field and the SSMS automatically changed it into 1048576 MB. It looks like the autogrowth in MB is limited to 1 TB and not 2147483647 like the percentage growth. It’s a completely different value.
If I try a T-SQL statement

ALTER DATABASE [testgrowth] MODIFY FILE (NAME = N'testgrowth', FILEGROWTH = 2147483647MB)

(a larger number will give me the incorrect syntax) I got the following error message:

Msg 1842, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

The file size, max size cannot be greater than 2147483647 in units of a page size. The file growth cannot be greater than 2147483647 in units of both page size and percentage.

Let’s see what happens when I do a T-SQL statement that is larger than 1048576MB (GUI limit) and smaller than 2147483647 (T-SQL limit).

ALTER DATABASE [testgrowth] MODIFY FILE (NAME = N'testgrowth', FILEGROWTH = 2097152 MB)

completes successfully.
Hey! Wasn’t that limited to 1TB by the GUI?

Let’s open the GUI again to see how SSMS deals with it. Well… not quite good… J

Conclusion here is that the GUI and the T-SQL statement are using different limitations, which should be corrected.

I’ve opened a connect on

Be careful when you change the autogrowth settings and when you make mistakes. The results can be quite strange.

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