Restore a Database Backup (SQL Server Management Studio)

This topic explains how to restore a full database backup.


Under the full or bulk-logged recovery model, before you can restore a database in SQL Server Management Studio, you must back up the active transaction log (known as the tail of the log). For more information, see Back Up a Transaction Log (SQL Server). To restore a database that is encrypted, you must have access to the certificate or asymmetric key that was used to encrypt the database. Without the certificate or asymmetric key, the database cannot be restored. As a result, the certificate that is used to encrypt the database encryption key must be retained as long as the backup is needed. For more information, see SQL Server Certificates and Asymmetric Keys.

Note that if you restore a SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 database to SQL Server 2012, the database is automatically upgraded. Typically, the database becomes available immediately. However, if a SQL Server 2005 database has full-text indexes, the upgrade process either imports, resets, or rebuilds them, depending on the setting of the Full-Text Upgrade Option server property. If the upgrade option is set to Import or Rebuild, the full-text indexes will be unavailable during the upgrade. Depending upon the amount of data being indexed, importing can take several hours, and rebuilding can take up to ten times longer. Note also that when the upgrade option is set to Import, if a full-text catalog is not available, the associated full-text indexes are rebuilt. For information about viewing or changing the setting of the Full-Text Upgrade Option property, see Manage and Monitor Full-Text Search for a Server Instance.

To restore a full database backup

  1. After you connect to the appropriate instance of the Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine, in Object Explorer, click the server name to expand the server tree.

  2. Expand Databases. Depending on the database, either select a user database or expand System Databases, and then select a system database.

  3. Right-click the database, point to Tasks, point to Restore, and then click Database, which opens the Restore Database dialog box.

  4. On the General page, use the Source section to specify the source and location of the backup sets to restore. Select one of the following options:

    • Database

      Select the database to restore from the drop-down list. The list contains only databases that have been backed up according to the msdb backup history.


    If the backup is taken from a different server, the destination server will not have the backup history information for the specified database. In this case, select Device to manually specify the file or device to restore.

    • Device

      Click the browse (...) button to open the Select backup devices dialog box. In the Backup media type box, select one of the listed device types. To select one or more devices for the Backup media box, click Add.

      After you add the devices you want to the Backup media list box, click OK to return to the General page.

      In the Source: Device: Database list box, select the name of the database which should be restored.


      This list is only available when Device is selected. Only databases that have backups on the selected device will be available.

      • Backup media
        Select the medium for the restore operation: File, Tape, or Backup Device. The Tape option appears only if a tape drive is mounted on the computer, and the Backup Device option appears, only if at least one backup device exists.

      • Backup location
        View, add, or remove media for the restore operation. The list can contain up to 64 files, tapes, or backup devices.

      • Add
        Adds the location of a backup device to the Backup location list. Depending on the type of media you select in the Backup media field, clicking Add opens one of the following dialog boxes.

        Media type

        Dialog box



        Locate Backup File

        In this dialog box, you can select a local file from the tree or specify a remote file using its fully qualified universal naming convention (UNC) name. For more information, see Backup Devices (SQL Server).


        Select Backup Device

        In this dialog box, you can select from a list of the logical backup devices defined on the server instance.


        Select Backup Tape

        In this dialog box, you can select from a list of the tape drives that are physically connected to the computer running the instance of SQL Server.

        If the list is full, the Add button is unavailable.

      • Remove
        Removes one or more selected files, tapes, or logical backup devices.

      • Contents
        Displays the media contents of a selected file, tape, or logical backup device.

  5. In the Destination section, the Database box is automatically populated with the name of the database to be restored. To change the name of the database, enter the new name in the Database box.

  6. In the Restore to box, leave the default as To the last backup taken or click on Timeline to access the Backup Timeline dialog box to manually select a point in time to stop the recovery action. For more information on designating a specific point in time, see Backup Timeline.

  7. In the Backup sets to restore grid, select the backups to restore. This grid displays the backups available for the specified location. By default, a recovery plan is suggested. To override the suggested recovery plan, you can change the selections in the grid. Backups that depend on the restoration of an earlier backup are automatically deselected when the earlier backup is deselected. For information about the columns in the Backup sets to restore grid, see Restore Database (General Page).

  8. Optionally, click Files in the Select a page pane to access the Files dialog box. From here, you can restore the database to a new location by specifying a new restore destination for each file in the Restore the database files as grid. For more information about this grid, see Restore Database (Files Page).

  9. To view or select the advanced options, on the Options page, in the Restore options panel, you can select any of the following options, if appropriate for your situation:

    1. WITH options (not required):

      • Overwrite the existing database (WITH REPLACE)

      • Preserve the replication settings (WITH KEEP_REPLICATION)

      • Restrict access to the restored database (WITH RESTRICTED_USER)

    2. Select an option for the Recovery state box. This box determines the state of the database after the restore operation.

      • RESTORE WITH RECOVERY is the default behavior which leaves the database ready for use by rolling back the uncommitted transactions. Additional transaction logs cannot be restored. Select this option if you are restoring all of the necessary backups now.

      • RESTORE WITH NORECOVERY which leaves the database non-operational, and does not roll back the uncommitted transactions. Additional transaction logs can be restored. The database cannot be used until it is recovered.

      • RESTORE WITH STANDBY which leaves the database in read-only mode. It undoes uncommitted transactions, but saves the undo actions in a standby file so that recovery effects can be reverted.

    3. Take tail-log backup before restore will be selected if it is necessary for the point in time that you have selected. You do not need to modify this setting, but you can choose to backup the tail of the log even if it is not required.

    4. Restore operations may fail if there are active connections to the database. Check the Close existing connections option to ensure that all active connections between Management Studio and the database are closed. This check box sets the database to single user mode before performing the restore operations, and sets the database to multi-user mode when complete.

    5. Select Prompt before restoring each backup if you wish to be prompted between each restore operation. This is not usually necessary unless the database is large and you wish to monitor the status of the restore operation.

    For more information about these restore options, see Restore Database (Options Page).

  10. Click OK.

See Also


RESTORE (Transact-SQL)

Restore Database (Options Page)

Restore Database (General Page)


Back Up a Transaction Log (SQL Server)

Create a Full Database Backup (SQL Server)

Restore a Database to a New Location (SQL Server)

Restore a Transaction Log Backup (SQL Server)