List SQL databases in SQL Server

Have you ever wanted to list out all the databases you have on a server? Well I am going to show you how to do it quickly and easily.

The other day I had completed a migration from a creaky old dinosaur server to a brand new powerful server which always brings a smile on my face as I like new stuff. I stopped all jobs, put the databases into offline, updated my documentation and diarised a week in the future to finish my clean-up work.

The next day my colleague asked me where I had moved the databases as they did not appear to still be on the server. When he listed the databases using the two following procedures it showed that we were 8 databases down which was the same amount I had put into offline mode.

EXEC sp_databases
EXEC sp_helpdb

I took a step back and did a quick manual search on the server which when you have a few thousand databases can take a while. I found all eight databases and came to the realisation that those two stored procedures can’t find offline databases.

I used the below query to get an accurate list of the databases.

FROM sys.sysdatabases

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