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Error 3266

SQL Server 2000

Error 3266

  Topic last updated -- January 2004

Severity Level 16

The backup data in '%ls' is incorrectly formatted. Backups cannot be appended, but existing backup sets may still be usable.


The backup data on the indicated media is incorrectly formatted. The likely cause is that a backup was interrupted, leaving the end of a disk backup file in an improperly terminated condition. The specific meaning of this error depends on the context in which it is returned:

  • When returned in response to a backup statement, this error indicates that the operation failed and the backup was not created. Pre-existing backup sets on the media may be damaged and unusable.

  • When logged in the error log, the message may be in response to a backup operation or to a restore operation. In response to a backup operation, this error may be a warning, as when you try to append a backup, or the error may indicate that the application failed. When this message appears in the error log for a restore operation, it is a warning message; the operation succeeded, but, other backup sets on the media may be damaged and unusable.

You can complete the failed backup by switching to other backup media, if available. Alternatively, if none of the existing backup sets on the current media is usable, consider reformatting the current media using the WITH FORMAT option before use.

Caution  BACKUP WITH FORMAT will reformat the media and destroy all contents. Before reformatting, consider using RESTORE VERIFYONLY to determine the usability of pre-existing backup sets on the media.

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