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Restore a Differential Database Backup (SQL Server)

This topic describes how to restore a differential database backup in SQL Server 2012 by using SQL Server Management Studio or Transact-SQL.

In This Topic

Limitations and Restrictions

  • RESTORE is not allowed in an explicit or implicit transaction.

  • Backups that are created by more recent version of SQL Server cannot be restored in earlier versions of SQL Server.

  • In SQL Server 2012, you can restore a user database from a database backup that was created by using SQL Server 2005 or a later version. However, backups of master, model and msdb that were created by using SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 cannot be restored by SQL Server 2012.

Prerequisites

  • Under the full or bulk-logged recovery model, before you can restore a database, 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).

Security

Permissions

If the database being restored does not 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 (for the FROM DATABASE_SNAPSHOT option, the database always exists).

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 is not always the case when RESTORE is executed, members of the db_owner fixed database role do not have RESTORE permissions.

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To restore a differential 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.

  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.

    Note Note

    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.

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

  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.

    Note Note

    To stop the restore at a specific point in time, click Timeline to access the Backup Timeline dialog box. For help with stopping a database restore at a specific point in time, see Restore a SQL Server Database to a Point in Time (Full Recovery Model).

  6. In the Backup sets to restore grid, select the backups through the differential backup that you wish to restore.

    For information about the columns in the Backup sets to restore grid, see Restore Database (General Page).

  7. On the Options page, in the Restore options panel, you can select any of the following options, if appropriate for your situation:

    • Overwrite the existing database (WITH REPLACE)

    • Preserve the replication settings (WITH KEEP_REPLICATION)

    • Prompt before restoring each backup

    • Restrict access to the restored database (WITH RESTRICTED_USER)

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

  8. 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.

    For descriptions of the options, see Restore Database (Options Page).

  9. Restore operations will 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Optionally, use the Files page to restore the database to a new location. For help with moving a database, see Restore a Database to a New Location (SQL Server).

  12. Click OK.

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To restore a differential database backup

  1. Execute the RESTORE DATABASE statement, specifying the NORECOVERY clause, to restore the full database backup that comes before the differential database backup. For more information, see How to: Restore a Full Backup.

  2. Execute the RESTORE DATABASE statement to restore the differential database backup, specifying:

    • The name of the database to which the differential database backup is applied.

    • The backup device where the differential database backup is restored from.

    • The NORECOVERY clause if you have transaction log backups to apply after the differential database backup is restored. Otherwise, specify the RECOVERY clause.

  3. With the full or bulk-logged recovery model, restoring a differential database backup restores the database to the point at which the differential database backup was completed. To recover to the point of failure, you must apply all transaction log backups created after the last differential database backup was created. For more information, see Apply Transaction Log Backups (SQL Server).

Examples (Transact-SQL)

A. Restoring a differential database backup

This example restores a database and differential database backup of the MyAdvWorks database.

-- Assume the database is lost, and restore full database, 
-- specifying the original full database backup and NORECOVERY, 
-- which allows subsequent restore operations to proceed.
RESTORE DATABASE MyAdvWorks
   FROM MyAdvWorks_1
   WITH NORECOVERY;
GO
-- Now restore the differential database backup, the second backup on 
-- the MyAdvWorks_1 backup device.
RESTORE DATABASE MyAdvWorks
   FROM MyAdvWorks_1
   WITH FILE = 2,
   RECOVERY;
GO

B. Restoring a database, differential database, and transaction log backup

This example restores a database, differential database, and transaction log backup of the MyAdvWorks database.

-- Assume the database is lost at this point. Now restore the full 
-- database. Specify the original full database backup and NORECOVERY.
-- NORECOVERY allows subsequent restore operations to proceed.
RESTORE DATABASE MyAdvWorks
   FROM MyAdvWorks_1
   WITH NORECOVERY;
GO
-- Now restore the differential database backup, the second backup on 
-- the MyAdvWorks_1 backup device.
RESTORE DATABASE MyAdvWorks
   FROM MyAdvWorks_1
   WITH FILE = 2,
   NORECOVERY;
GO
-- Now restore each transaction log backup created after
-- the differential database backup.
RESTORE LOG MyAdvWorks
   FROM MyAdvWorks_log1
   WITH NORECOVERY;
GO
RESTORE LOG MyAdvWorks
   FROM MyAdvWorks_log2
   WITH RECOVERY;
GO
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