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

Written By Andrew Jackson
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On May 9th, 2024
Reading Time 9 Minutes Reading

restore SQL Server from BAK file

Synopsis: Learning to restore SQL Server database from BAK file  can be tough for users. As more & more cases are coming out for the same, it’s a serious issue now. Now, the focus of this blog is to provide users with all the solutions that can help them get the results.

“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.

Prerequisites to Restore SQL Database from BAK File

  • Users must end all of their active connections prior to restore SQL Server database from BAK file. It helps in preventing server outages & operation failures due to bad or false connection.
  • Users will not be able to restore the latest backups of the SQL Server to the earlier versions. Therefore, users must take off this point before they begin.
  • Another crucial point for users to note down is to backup their active transaction log. Without the backup, there is a high chance for users to lose their active transaction log files or tail of the LDF files.
  • When you want to restore a db from another server instance, you will need to manage metadata to make the db available on another server. Refer to this link for more information.
  • Oftentimes, users successfully execute MS SQL restore database from BAK file task. However, users forget to maintain the metadata, schema, etc. Thus, they get difficulties in utilizing the end result.

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.

To start with the automated solution, simply install the automated software in your system & then follow the below-mentioned steps and restore SQL BAK file to a new database with ease.

Step-1. Launch the Tool & Click on the Open button to begin.

Launch tool

Step-2. Browse & Add multiple .bak Files from the system.

Add backup files

Step-3. Preview recovered Backup Files and cross-check.

preview data

Step-4. Finally, Restore SQL Database from BAK File.

hit the export button

Now, this automated solution is so far the best & suits both new and experienced users. However, in case, expert users want to try the manual method despite being risky, it’s mentioned below. Users must note that this tool is a better alternative for users than the restore database from snapshot task.

MS SQL Restore Database from BAK File Manual Methods

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.

Steps to Restore SQL Server Database From BAK File Using SSMS

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 to restore SQL database from BAK file safely.

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, data transfer is crucial 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 need 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 system will overwrite the respective data files as a part of the restoration.
    • 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.

T-SQL Method to Restore Database SQL Server from BAK File

Now, we are going to restore SQL BAK file to a new database but with the help of the T-SQL command line method. It makes sure that there will be no hassles for users that are proficient in the SQL technicalities.

Step-1. Connect the SQL Server Instance after launching the software.

Step-2. To begin with the query, Hit the New Query option to start. 

Step-3. Run the Restore command as stated below:


Here, use the actual database name you are having. Now, run the below command:


Use the actual file name here.

PowerShell Method to Restore SQL Database from BAK File

If users are aware of the Restore-SqlDatabase cmdlet, it is indeed possible for them to use PowerShell commands to get the desired results. However, it only helps in restoring full database restores, transaction log, and database file restores.

Note: Users must note that they cannot perform selective database recovery from the backup file at all using this method.


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. In a nutshell, the automated solution is the key for MS SQL restore database from BAK file task. 

Also Read: Fix SQL Server error 601 NOLOCK Issue

Frequently Asked Questions –

Q -1. What is process to restore SQL Server database from BAK File?

Ans: It is a procedure of restoring data from .bak file to the SQL Server. It gets corruption due to catastrophic situations. The solution is present above for the same.

Q -2. How do I automatically backup SQL database?

Ans: Other than restore SQL BAK file to a new database, follow the below steps:

  • 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 -3. Can I restore the damaged / corrupted .bak file with the help of Management Studio?

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


By Andrew Jackson

I am SQL DBA and SQL Server blogger too. I like to share about SQL Server and the problems related to it as well as their solution and also I do handle database related user queries, server or database maintenance, database management, etc. I love to share my knowledge with SQL Geeks.