How to keep existing values when editing a record using Entity Framework

I was working on a project using ASP.NET MVC and Entity Framework 5 when I encountered some problem that made me feel like banging my head on the wall.

The problem was, each time I performed an update to my record, the fields which were not bound to the update form in my Update ViewModel was always updated with a NULL or Blank value in the database. Off course, you will agree that this can be problematic should a very important piece of data get deleted this way.

Well, after spending sometime researching online on how to fix this problem I was finally able to solve this issue. In this post I want to share the solution to this problem which I found. As I am sure at some point someone would have encountered this same or someone will encounter this in the future.


Let’s assume you have a collection of properties you like to retain their existing values:

var exclude = new[] {"property1", "property2"};

In EntityFramework 5 on .NET 4.5 you can do this:

var entry = context.Entry(obj)
entry.State = EntityState.Modified;
foreach(var name in exclude)
entry.Property(name).IsModified = false;

EntityFramework 5 on .NET4.5 uses a new feature that allows a property to be set as not modified even after it has been previously set to modified.

This fix will only work in EF5 on .NET 4.5

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