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Efficiently UPDATE and DELETE using TOP and ORDER BY

Since SQL Server 2005, Microsoft had a nice addition to the common DML statements, UPDATE and DELETE, by allowing the use of the TOP keyword. Well, SQL Server 2019 has just been released, and yet unfortunately for many of us, SQL Server still doesn’t support the use of the TOP keyword in direct combination with the ORDER BY clause. So when we do need to update or delete the top x rows in a table based on a specific order, we’re bound to use all kinds of workarounds.

However, many of the commonly used workarounds are not as efficient as they can be.

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