Ways to Restore SQL Server Database From BAK File in Simple Manner

Anuraag Singh ~ Modified: July 19th, 2022 ~ SQL Server, Tips ~ 6 Minutes Reading

“I have a .bak file and I want to utilize this file for restoring the database in a recently installed SQL Server Management Studio. When I tried to restore database in SQL Server 2012 from .bak file it throws following error message. Can someone point me in the right direction on how to restore SQL Server database from .bak file quickly and seamlessly?”

This is such a common issue encountered by several SQL Server users while restoring the database from a backup file. In order to help users in such critical conditions, we have come up with this article. Here, we are going to disclose one of the simplest solutions to restore SQL Server database from bak file. These workarounds works for MS SQL Server 2017 / 2016 / 2014 / 2012 / 2008 / 2008 R2 / 2005.

Possibly, while using SQL Server, users have experienced some issues like the abrupt termination of the program, faults in the database connection, Transient error, database replication issues, malicious attacks, and much more. This might lead to SQL Database corruption. In all such cases, the most viable option is to restore SQL Server database from backup file.

Restore SQL Server Database from Corrupted BAK file Instantly

If you failed to restore SQL database from backup file, then it might be possible that the BAK file has corruption in it. In such cases, you cannot restore the database from above methods. You need to use SysTools .bak File Repair Software for easy restoring of SQL Server database from backup file in case of corruption. The software supports to restore SQL database of SQL Server 2017, 2016, & its below versions. Moreover, the free version of the software is also available. 

Download SQL Backup Recovery Software Purchase SQL Backup Recovery Software

Steps to Restore SQL Server Database From BAK File

SQL Server Management Studio is utilized to backup and restore the database files. For restoring the database, users must have a full backup of data files. If users have a complete backup of the database, then they can restore their lost data till the time period of new database installation from backup file.

Important Note: Before proceeding to restore database from SQL Server backup file, copy the backup file (typically has a .BAK extension) of SQL Server into a local hard drive at the targeted SQL Server machine.

Step 1: First, launch SQL Server Management Studio and log in to SQL Server to restore the database.

Establish Connection

Step 2: After logging in, hit a right-click on the Databases folder and choose Restore Database.. option.

Step 3: Next, click on the ellipses button corresponding to From device:  heading that is placed under Source for restore section

Step 4: Now, select the File option as the backup media. Afterward, click on the Add button

Step 5: In Locate Backup File window, select the SQL backup (BAK) file that you want to restore in SQL Server.

Step 6: Finally, the .bak file gets added.

Step 7: In Restore Database wizard, enter or choose the name of the database in which you want to restore this data.

Step 8: If you are selecting an existing database then, it will be copied with the data from the backup. On the other hand, if you have entered a database name that does not exist in SQL Server then, it will be created.

Step 9: Choose the restore point you want to utilize. As SQL backup file can contain multiple backups, where users may see more than one restore point listed.

At this time, adequate information has been moved to the database for restoration. But, SQL backup files store information about where the data files are copied, it is so because if there will be any file system issues such as the destination directory do not exist or conflict the data file names an error message will prompt. These issues are common while restoring a backup that is created on the different SQL Server installation.

Step 10: To review and modify the file system settings, hit a click on the Options page that is situated on the left side in Restore Database wizard to restore SQL Server database from BAK file.

Step 11: Next, in the options page, you are required to verify that the Restore as column points for valid folder locations (one can modify them as per requirement). The data files do not exist, however the path of a folder must exist. In case, if the respective data files do not exist then, the SQL Server follow a simple set of protocols:

    • If ‘To database’ (from General page) matches with restore database backup (e.g., restoring to the matching databases), the respective data files will be overwritten as a part of the restore
    • If ‘To database’ does not match with the restore database backup (e.g., restoring to the different database) then, Overwrite the existing database will require to check the restore process to complete. Utilize this feature with cautiousness as one can potentially restore SQL Server database from bak file on upmost of data files from an entirely different database.

Step 12: Specifically, users can state the databases differ that is based on ‘Original File Name’ which is an internal name that SQL Server usages for referencing the respective data files

Step 13: After finishing the database restoration process, hit the OK button.


This blog discusses one simple technique to restore SQL Server database from BAK file in all SQL Server versions. The complete procedure is simple and users can execute it without much technical expertise. However, if someone finds this method complex or time-taking. So, we also recommend choosing a trusted solution by SysTools. The software can recover and restore complete data from SQL Server backup files even without resulting any kind of data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions –

Q – What is Database Restoration Process?

A – It is a procedure of restoring data from .bak file to the SQL Server. It is used to get data that has been damaged or lost due to any catastrophic situations.

Q – How do I automatically backup SQL database?

A – Step 1: Under Object Explorer, go to Backup Device and right-click on it.
Step 2: Select New Backup Device…. option from the menu.
Step 3: From Backup Device wizard, input the Device name and Destination. Then, click on OK.
Step 4: The backup device that you created, perform the right-click operation and opt for Backup Database.
Step 5: Under Backup Options, provide name for Backup job and description under the Name & Description box respectively. Then, press OK.

Q – Can I restore the damaged / corrupted .bak file with the help of Management Studio?

A – If you have damaged backup file and wants to recover the SQL database, then use only SysTools SQL Backup Recovery Software.