Restore a database to a new location (SQL Server)

Applies to: SQL Server

This article describes how to restore a SQL Server database to a new location, and optionally rename the database in SQL Server by using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or Transact-SQL. You can move a database to a new directory path or create a copy of a database on either the same server instance or a different server instance.

Before you begin

Limitations and restrictions

  • The system administrator restoring a full database backup must be the only person currently using the database to be restored.


  • Under the full or bulk-logged recovery model, before you can restore a database, you must back up the active transaction log. For more information, see Back Up a Transaction Log (SQL Server).

  • To restore an encrypted database, you must have access to the certificate or asymmetric key used to encrypt the database! Without that certificate or asymmetric key, you can't restore the database. You must retain that certificate used to encrypt the database encryption key for as long as you need the backup. For more information, see SQL Server Certificates and Asymmetric Keys.


  • For other considerations for moving a database, see Copy Databases with Backup and Restore.

  • If you restore a SQL Server 2005 (9.x) or higher database to SQL Server, the database is automatically upgraded. Typically, the database becomes available immediately. However, if a SQL Server 2005 (9.x) database has full-text indexes, the upgrade process either imports, resets, or rebuilds them, depending on the setting of the upgrade_option server property. If the upgrade option is set to import (upgrade_option = 2) or rebuild (upgrade_option = 0), the full-text indexes will be unavailable during the upgrade. Depending on the amount of data being indexed, importing can take several hours, and rebuilding can take up to 10 times longer. Note also that when the upgrade option is set to import, the associated full-text indexes are rebuilt if a full-text catalog isn't available. To change the setting of the upgrade_option server property, use sp_fulltext_service.


For security purposes, we recommend that you don't attach or restore databases from unknown or untrusted sources. Such databases could contain malicious code that might execute unintended Transact-SQL code or cause errors by modifying the schema or the physical database structure. Before you use a database from an unknown or untrusted source, run DBCC CHECKDB on the database on a nonproduction server and also examine the code, such as stored procedures or other user-defined code, in the database.


If the database being restored doesn't exist, the user must have CREATE DATABASE permissions to be able to execute RESTORE. If the database exists, RESTORE permissions default to members of the sysadmin and dbcreator fixed server roles and the owner (dbo) of the database.

RESTORE permissions are given to roles in which membership information is always readily available to the server. Because fixed database role membership can be checked only when the database is accessible and undamaged, which isn't always the case when RESTORE is executed, members of the db_owner fixed database role don't have RESTORE permissions.

Restore a database to a new location; optionally rename the database using SSMS

  1. Connect to the appropriate instance of the SQL Server Database Engine, and then in Object Explorer, select the server name to expand the server tree.

  2. Right-click Databases, and then select Restore Database. The Restore Database dialog box opens.

  3. 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

      Select 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, select Add.

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

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

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

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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).

  7. To specify the new location of the database files, select the Files page, and then select Relocate all files to folder. Provide a new location for the Data file folder and Log file folder. For more information about this grid, see Restore Database (Files Page).

  8. On the Options page, adjust the options if you want. For more information about these options, see Restore Database (Options Page).

Restore database to a new location; optionally rename the database using T-SQL

  1. Optionally, determine the logical and physical names of the files in the backup set that contains the full database backup that you want to restore. This statement returns a list of the database and log files contained in the backup set. The basic syntax is as follows:

    RESTORE FILELISTONLY FROM <backup_device> WITH FILE = backup_set_file_number

    Here, backup_set_file_number indicates the position of the backup in the media set. You can obtain the position of a backup set by using the RESTORE HEADERONLY statement. For more information, see Specifying a backup set.

    This statement also supports several WITH options. For more information, see RESTORE FILELISTONLY (Transact-SQL).

  2. Use the RESTORE DATABASE statement to restore the full database backup. By default, data and log files are restored to their original locations. To relocate a database, use the MOVE option to relocate each of the database files, and to avoid collisions with existing files.

The basic Transact-SQL syntax for restoring the database to a new location and a new name is:

RESTORE DATABASE *new_database_name*  

FROM *backup_device* [ ,...*n* ]  

[ WITH  



    [ , ] [ FILE ={ *backup_set_file_number* | @*backup_set_file_number* } ]  

    [ , ] MOVE '*logical_file_name_in_backup*' TO '*operating_system_file_name*' [ ,...*n* ]  




When preparing to relocate a database on a different disk, you should verify that sufficient space is available and identify any potential collisions with existing files. This involves using a RESTORE VERIFYONLY statement that specifies the same MOVE parameters that you plan to use in your RESTORE DATABASE statement.

The following table describes arguments of this RESTORE statement in terms of restoring a database to a new location. For more information about these arguments, see RESTORE (Transact-SQL).

The new name for the database.


If you are restoring the database to a different server instance, you can use the original database name instead of a new name.

backup_device [ ,...n ]
Specifies a comma-separated list of from 1 to 64 backup devices from which the database backup is to be restored. You can specify a physical backup device, or you can specify a corresponding logical backup device, if defined. To specify a physical backup device, use the DISK or TAPE option:

{ DISK | TAPE } =physical_backup_device_name

For more information, see Backup Devices (SQL Server).

If the database uses the full recovery model, you might need to apply transaction log backups after you restore the database. In this case, specify the NORECOVERY option.

Otherwise, use the RECOVERY option, which is the default.

FILE = { backup_set_file_number | @backup_set_file_number }
Identifies the backup set to be restored. For example, a backup_set_file_number of 1 indicates the first backup set on the backup medium and a backup_set_file_number of 2 indicates the second backup set. You can obtain the backup_set_file_number of a backup set by using the RESTORE HEADERONLY statement.

When this option isn't specified, the default is to use the first backup set on the backup device.

For more information, see "Specifying a Backup Set," in RESTORE Arguments (Transact-SQL).

MOVE 'logical_file_name_in_backup' TO 'operating_system_file_name' [ ,...n ]
Specifies that the data or log file specified by logical_file_name_in_backup is to be restored to the location specified by operating_system_file_name. Specify a MOVE statement for every logical file you want to restore from the backup set to a new location.

Option Description
logical_file_name_in_backup Specifies the logical name of a data or log file in the backup set. The logical file name of a data or log file in a backup set matches its logical name in the database when the backup set was created.

Note: To obtain a list of the logical files from the backup set, use RESTORE FILELISTONLY.
operating_system_file_name Specifies a new location for the file specified by logical_file_name_in_backup. The file is restored to this location.

Optionally, operating_system_file_name specifies a new file name for the restored file. This is necessary if you're creating a copy of an existing database on the same server instance.
n Is a placeholder indicating that you can specify additional MOVE statements.

Example (Transact-SQL)

This example creates a new database named MyAdvWorks by restoring a backup of the AdventureWorks2022 sample database, which includes two files: AdventureWorks2022_Data and AdventureWorks2022_Log. This database uses the simple recovery model. The AdventureWorks2022 database already exists on the server instance, so the files in the backup must be restored to a new location. The RESTORE FILELISTONLY statement is used to determine the number and names of the files in the database being restored. The database backup is the first backup set on the backup device.


The examples of backing up and restoring the transaction log, including point-in-time restores, use the MyAdvWorks_FullRM database that is created from AdventureWorks2022 just like the following MyAdvWorks example. However, the resulting MyAdvWorks_FullRM database must be changed to use the full recovery model by using the following Transact-SQL statement: ALTER DATABASE <database_name> SET RECOVERY FULL.

USE master;  
-- First determine the number and names of the files in the backup.  
-- AdventureWorks2022_Backup is the name of the backup device.  
   FROM AdventureWorks2022_Backup;  
-- Restore the files for MyAdvWorks.  
   FROM AdventureWorks2022_Backup  
   MOVE 'AdventureWorks2022_Data' TO 'D:\MyData\MyAdvWorks_Data.mdf',   
   MOVE 'AdventureWorks2022_Log' TO 'F:\MyLog\MyAdvWorks_Log.ldf';  

For an example of how to create a full database backup of the AdventureWorks2022 database, see Create a Full Database Backup (SQL Server).

Related tasks

See also