restoring a .bak file RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello:

    I want to paste a .bak database file I just downloaded from my server into my backup SQL file folder so I can view it in SQL Server Mgt. Studio. Problem is I'm not sure which one to use? I downloaded the database to try to find some information in it (lost email and pw info). I uploaded a recent version of my VS project that was migrated to the VS 2019 version. Project was originally created in VS 2008 version and old version of SQL. So Not sure what is being used on the host website.

    I have four folders for SQL Server in my c:/program files:


    All have backup folders.

    Any advice? Thank you in advance on what to try.

    Friday, June 14, 2019 4:06 PM

All replies

  • In Object Explorer, open the instance where you want to restore the database. Right-click the server, and select Properties. In that dialog, select Database Settings. At the bottom, you find the Backup folder for that instance.3

    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP,

    Friday, June 14, 2019 9:19 PM
  • Thank you. But I'm not sure which version it is and want to put in correct version.

    I would like to see what version that .bak file is for. Do you know how to



    Friday, June 14, 2019 9:25 PM
  • RESTORE HEADERONLY FROM DISK = '<path to your backup>'

    But you don't really need to do that. If the backup is from an older version of SQL Server than you are restoring to, SQL Server will upgrade the database to the format for the version you are restoring to. This will not affect the backup file.

    If you do it the other way round, that is try to restore it on an older instance of SQL Server, you will get an error message. And that applies also to RESTORE HEADERONLY as well.

    The easiest way to go is to restore the backup on the newest version of SQL Server you have around.

    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP,

    Saturday, June 15, 2019 8:20 AM
  • Oh thanks so much. I will quit worrying with it then and restore it to my SQL SMS 2017. I had seen this blog and thought it meant that it was important to do  that:

    Saturday, June 15, 2019 12:45 PM
  • Hi RaekC,


    In your article , it will help you to figure out details about the server, login and database version by just checking the header details of the backup files.


    Database compatibility level provides only partial backward compatibility with earlier versions of SQL Server. So as Erland Sommarskog said that , you can restore the backup on the newest version of SQL Server  and it will work well.


    By the way , if you have solved your issue ,in order to close this thread, please kindly mark helpful replies as answers. By doing so, it will benefit all community members who are having this similar issue.  Your contribution is highly appreciated.


    Best Regards,


    MSDN Community Support
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    Monday, June 17, 2019 3:18 AM