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Recover an Oracle Database with Missing Archived Logs

Scenario:  To recover an Oracle database from a backup with missing archived logs. The recovery process will stop at some point asking for archive logs when we try to recover from such a state.

The assumption here is that we have exhausted all possible locations to find another good and valid copy or backup of the archivelog that we are looking for.

If the archivelog is not found in any of the locations, then the approach and strategy on how to recover and open the database depends on the SCN (System Change Number) of the datafiles, as well as, whether the logsequence# required for the recovery is still available in the online redo logs.

For the SCN of the datafiles, it is important to know the mode of the database when the datafiles are backed up. That is whether the database is open, mounted or shutdown (normally) when the backup is taken.

If the datafiles are restored from an online or hot backup, which means that the database is open when the backup istaken, then we must apply at least the archivelog(s) or redolog(s) whose log sequence# are generated from the beginning and until the completion of the said backup that was used to restore the datafiles.

However, if the datafiles are restored from an offline or cold backup, and the database is cleanly shutdown before thebackup is taken, that means that the database is either not open, is in nomount mode or mounted when the backup is taken, then the datafiles are already synchronized in terms of their SCN. In this situation, we can immediately open the database without even applying archivelogs, because the datafiles are already in a consistent state, except if there is a requirement to roll the database forward to a point-in-time after the said backup is taken.

The critical key thing here is to ensure that all of the online datafiles are synchronized in terms of their SCN before we can normally open the database. So, run the following SQL statement, as shown below, to determine whether the datafiles aresynchronized or not. Take note that we query the V$DATAFILE_HEADER, because we want to know the SCN recorded inthe header of the physical datafile, and not the V$DATAFILE, which derives the information from the controlfile.

select status, checkpoint_change#,  to_char(checkpoint_time,

‘DD-MON-YYYY HH24:MI:SS’) as checkpoint_time, count(*)

from v$datafile_header

group by status, checkpoint_change#, checkpoint_time

order by status, checkpoint_change#, checkpoint_time;

The results of the above query must return one and only one row for the online datafiles, which means that they are already synchronized in terms of their SCN. Otherwise, if the results return more than one row for the online datafiles, then the datafiles are still not synchronized yet. In this case, we need to apply archivelog(s) or redolog(s) to synchronize all of the online datafiles. By the way, take note of the CHECKPOINT_TIME in the V$DATAFILE_HEADER,which indicates the date and time how far the datafiles have been recovered.

The results of the query above may return some offline datafiles. So, ensure that all of the required datafiles are online,because we may not be able to recover later the offline datafile once we open the database in resetlogs. Even though wecan recover the database beyond resetlogs for the Oracle database starting from 10g and later versions due to the introduction of the format “%R” in the LOG_ARCHIVE_FORMAT, it is recommended that you online the required datafilesnow than after the database is open in resetlogs to avoid any possible problems. However, in some cases, we intentionally offline the datafile(s), because we are doing a partial database restore, or perhaps we don’t need thecontents of the said datafile.

You may run the following query to determine the offline datafiles:

select file#, name from


where file# in (select file#

from v$datafile_header

where status=’OFFLINE’);

You may issue the following SQL statement to change the status of the required datafile(s) from “OFFLINE” to “ONLINE”:

alter database datafile <file#> online;

If we are lucky that the required log sequence# is still available in the online redologs and the corresponding redologmember is still physically existing on disk, then we may apply them instead of the archivelog. To confirm, issue the following query, as shown below, that is to determine the redolog member(s) that you can apply to recover the database:

set echo on feedback on pagesize 100 numwidth 16
alter session set nls_date_format = ‘DD-MON-YYYY HH24:MI:SS’;

select LF.member, L.group#, L.thread#, L.sequence#, L.status,L.first_change#, L.first_time, DF.min_checkpoint_change#
from v$log L, v$logfile LF,
(select min(checkpoint_change#) min_checkpoint_change#
from v$datafile_headerwhere status=’ONLINE’) DF
where LF.group# = L.group#
and L.first_change# >= DF.min_checkpoint_change#;

If the above query returns no rows, because the V$DATABASE.CONTROLFILE_TYPE has a value of “BACKUP”, then try to apply each of the redolog members one at a time during the recovery. You may run the following query to determine theredolog members:

select * from v$logfile;

If you have tried to apply all of the online redolog members instead of an archivelog during the recovery, but you always received the ORA-00310 error, as shown in the example below, then the log sequence# required for recovery is no longer available in the online redolog.

ORA-00279: change 189189555 generated at 11/03/2007 09:27:46 needed for thread 1

ORA-00289: suggestion : +BACKUP

ORA-00280: change 189189555 for thread 1 is in sequence #428

Specify log: {<RET>=suggested | filename | AUTO | CANCEL}


ORA-00310: archived log contains sequence 503; sequence 428 required

ORA-00334: archived log: ‘+BACKUP/prmy/onlinelog/group_2.258.603422107’

After trying all of the possible solutions mentioned above, but you still cannot open the database, because the archivelog required for recovery is either missing, lost or corrupted, or the corresponding log sequence# is no longer available in theonline redolog, since they are already overwritten during the redolog switches, then we cannot normally open the database, since the datafiles are in an inconsistent state. So, the following are the 3 options available to allow you to open the database:


Force open the database by setting some hidden parameters in the init.ora. Note that you can only do this under the guidance of Oracle Support with a service request. As per Oracle Metalink,  there is no 100% guarantee that this will open the database. However, once the database is opened, then we must immediately rebuild the database.

Database rebuild means doing the following, namely:

(1) perform a full-database export

(2) create a brand new and separate database

(3) import the recent export dump.

This option can be tedious and time consuming, but once we successfullyopen the new database, then we expect minimal or perhaps no data loss at all. Before you try this option, ensure that you have a good and valid backup of the current database.

When recovery process is initiated using backup controlfile, it will output recovery succeeded but inorder to open the database the datafiles should be in consistent state.

SQL> recover database until cancel using backup controlfile;
ORA-00279: change 9867098396261 generated at 03/21/2008 13:37:44 needed for
thread 1
ORA-00289: suggestion : /arcredo/XSCLFY/log1_648355446_2093.arc
ORA-00280: change 9867098396261 for thread 1 is in sequence #2093Specify log: {=suggested | filename | AUTO | CANCEL}
ORA-01547: warning: RECOVER succeeded but OPEN RESETLOGS would get error below
ORA-01195: online backup of file 1 needs more recovery to be consistent
ORA-01110: data file 1: ‘/u100/oradata/XSCLFY/SYSTEM01_SCLFY.dbf’
ORA-01112: media recovery not startedSQL> alter database open resetlogs;
alter database open resetlogs
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01195: online backup of file 1 needs more recovery to be consistent
ORA-01110: data file 1: ‘/u100/oradata/XSCLFY/SYSTEM01_SCLFY.dbf’

Now, a hidden parameter _ALLOW_RESETLOGS_CORRUPTION=TRUE will allow us to open database even though it’s not properly recovered.

Force open the database by setting the _ALLOW_RESETLOGS_CORRUPTION = TRUE. It allows us to open database but instance may crash immediately due to undo tablespace corruption. Check alert log file to view details of the issue.To resolve undo corruption issue, change undo_management to “Manual” in init.ora. Now the database will open successfully. Once database is up and running, create a new undo tablespace and drop the old corrupted undo tablespace. Also chang back the undo_management to “Auto” and undo_tablespace to “NewUndoTablespace” in init.ora._ALLOW_RESETLOGS_CORRUPTION=TRUE allows database to open without consistency checks. This may result in a corrupted database. The database should be recreated.



If you have a good and valid backup of the database, then restore the database from the said backup,and recover the database by applying up to the last available archivelog. In this option, we will only recover the databaseup to the last archivelog that is applied, and any data after that are lost. If no archivelogs are applied at all, then we can only recover the database from the backup that is restored. However, if we restored from an online or hot backup, then we may not be able to open the database, because we still need to apply the archivelogs generated during the said backup inorder to synchronize the SCN of the datafiles before we can normally open the database.


Manually extract the data using the Oracle’s Data Unloader (DUL), which is performed by Oracle Field Support at the customer site on the next business day and for an extra charge. If the customer wants to pursue this approach, we need the complete name, phone# and email address of the person who has the authority to sign the work order in behalf of the customer.

Source / Reference:

How to recover and open the database if the archivelog required for recovery is either missing, lost or corrupted?

How to recover and open the database if the archive log required for recovery is missing.


Recovering an Oracle Database with Missing Archived Logs

Resolving missing archive log gap at Standby Database

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