.MDF File Extension

Media Disc Image File

Developer Alcohol Software
4.0  |  501 Votes

What is an MDF file?

An MDF file is a disc image saved by a disc authoring program such as Alcohol 120%. It stores the actual CD or DVD disc data, while the header and track information is stored in a corresponding .MDS file. MDF files are similar to .ISO files, but are saved in a different format.

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MDF files may also be accompanied by .MDS files, which contain metadata about the MDF files. they include information, such as where the disc layers begin and end and copyright information.

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Programs that open MDF files

SQL Server Database

Developer Microsoft
4.1  |  301 Votes

An MDF file may also be a Microsoft SQL Server database. MDF files typically contain several linked data tables, comprised of fields (columns) and records (rows). Using Microsoft SQL Server, database administrators can create, manage, and retrieve data from MDF files.

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Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system for Windows. It is available in many editions, including Enterprise, Standard, and Express. Each edition is tailored for a different level of use.

When a user creates a new SQL Server database, that database is saved as an MDF file. MDF files contain not only a database's tables and schema, but any views, stored procedures, indexes, and constraints associated with that database. When a user opens an MDF file with SQL Server Management Studio (an administration app included with SQL Server), they can view and edit the database's data and other objects.

MDF files are often stored alongside similarly-named .LDF files, which record a log of recent database transactions. In some cases, a database's data may be split across an MDF and .NDF file. Typically, to use a database that is split into an MDF and NDF file, you must possess both files.

NOTE: MDF files are also known as Master Database Files and Microsoft Database Files.

How to open an MDF file

You can open an MDF file with Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio, which is included with Microsoft SQL Server:

  1. Log in to a server in SQL Server Management Studio.
  2. In Object Explorer, right-click Databases and select Attach....
  3. In the Attach Databases window, click Add....
  4. In the Locate Database Files window, navigate to and select your MDF file.
  5. Click OK in both the Locate Database Files and Attach Databases windows.

You can then view and manage the database your MDF file contains in SQL Server Management Studio.

You can also open MDF files with Microsoft Visual Studio (as described here), Aryson SQL Database Recovery, and SysTools MDF Viewer.

Programs that open MDF files

Measurement Data Format File

Developer Vector
3.9  |  86 Votes

Standard file format used by the automotive industry for storing measurement data; contains raw measurement data from a measurement and the metadata necessary to interpret the raw data.

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NOTE: The Vector MDF Validator is used for validating MDF files.

Programs that open MDF files

Translation Memory Data Find File

Developer SDL
3.5  |  66 Votes

Supporting file for a translation memory used by Trados translation software; enables fast look up of data within the translation memory.

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A translation memory (TM) includes five file types including MDF, .TMW, .IIX, .MTF, and .MWF files.

Programs that open or reference MDF files

SDL Trados

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