SQL database reducing database size

We have a SQL database that is about to suck up the whole hard drive space.  We have identified tables we can remove and will do that.  The database is 180 gig.  My question:  after we delete tables, how best to recover disk space.  I have read about shrink and there seems to be some major pitfalls.  If I reduce DB by 40% how long will shrink take?  will reindexing help with fragmentation?  I need space for the transaction log file.  Please assist.

Thank you,
BUCKBERGAsked:
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Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
1. Backup your database Full and transaction log files
2. create a new database same tables
3. Export the original database
4. Import into new database.
5. detach original database
6. delete the database files
7. rename new database to the original database name

Try shrink first to see what happens.

Always make a backup of the database and transaction log files before doing any of the above.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
backup regularly to reduce the log files.. deleting tables is not really an alternative .. Disk space is cheap these days give it more space.
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Scott PletcherSenior DBACommented:
Which table(s) are the big ones?

Can you compress any large tables?  [Only Enterprise Edition (or Developer)]

Can you archive some data to another location?

Are the large table(s) on different filegroups?

Maybe?: ?Can you move any tables, such as log tables, to a slower, and there less expensive, storage?
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