As a web developer from time to time you inevitably have to cleans a database table of a few records – be they test data, corrupt data or whatever. Very occasionally (and rather unnervingly) this sometimes has to be done in a live environment on a busy table (sign up data etc etc). Standard practice is to take a backup of the table first. Inevitably sometimes it doesn’t quite go to plan, and a few days later you find there’s some data you need back.

The query bellow is a simple one that will copy all data from the backup table, that is not in the live table, back into the live table. This leaves any additional or modified data in the live table in tact. The only pre-requisite is that there is a unique ID column (in the query below ‘ID’) for which to reference against.

INSERT INTO livetable SELECT * FROM backupoflivetable WHERE ID NOT IN(SELECT ID FROM livetable)