Working with Backup Media in SQL Server

To make sure that you can restore your system when you have to, you must manage your backups carefully. Each backup contains any descriptive text that is provided when the backup was created, and also the expiration information of the backup. You can use this information to do the following:

  • Identify a backup.

  • Determine when you can safely overwrite the backup.

  • Identify all the backups on a backup medium, tape or disk, to determine which backup you have to restore.

When working with backups, we recommend that you do the following:

  • Maintain your backups in a secure place, preferably at a secure site different from the site where the data resides.

  • Keep older backups for a designated amount of time, in case the most recent backup is damaged, destroyed, or lost.

  • Label backup media to avoid inadvertently overwriting critical backups. This allows for easy identification of the data stored on the backup media or the specific backup set.

  • Use expiration dates on backups, to also prevent inadvertent overwriting,

  • Establish a system for overwriting backups, reusing the oldest backups first.

In This Section


For information about how to schedule backup jobs for a database, see Maintenance Plan Wizard.