How to Restore a SQL Server Database with 3 Examples?

How to Restore a SQL Server Database?

Restoring a database is an essential process in database management, especially when you need to recover data from a backup. In SQL Server, restoring a database involves several steps that can be executed using either SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or Transact-SQL (T-SQL) commands. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of restoring a SQL Server database with examples.

How to Restore a SQL Server Database

Restoring a Full Backup

To restore a SQL Server database from a full backup, follow these steps:

  • Open SSMS and connect to the instance of SQL Server where the database resides.
  • Right-click on the “Databases” folder, and select “Restore Database.”
  • In the “General” page of the Restore Database dialog box, select the “Device” option and browse for the backup file.
  • In the “Options” page, select the appropriate options for your restore, such as the location of data and log files.
  • Click “OK” to begin the restore process.

Alternatively, you can use the following T-SQL command to restore a full backup:

RESTORE DATABASE [DatabaseName]
FROM DISK = ‘C:\Backups\DatabaseName_Full.bak’
WITH REPLACE, RECOVERY;

This command restores the database from the specified backup file and replaces the existing database. The RECOVERY option brings the database online when the restore is complete.

Restoring a Differential Backup

A differential backup is a type of backup that captures the changes made to a database since the last full backup. To restore a SQL Server database from a differential backup, follow these steps:

  • Open SSMS and connect to the instance of SQL Server where the database resides.
  • Right-click on the “Databases” folder, and select “Restore Database.”
  • In the “General” page of the Restore Database dialog box, select the “Device” option and browse for the backup file.
  • In the “Options” page, select the appropriate options for your restore, such as the location of data and log files.
  • Click “OK” to begin the restore process.

Alternatively, you can use the following T-SQL command to restore a differential backup:

RESTORE DATABASE [DatabaseName]
FROM DISK = ‘C:\Backups\DatabaseName_Diff.bak’
WITH NORECOVERY;

This command restores the database from the specified differential backup file and leaves the database in a “Restoring” state. You can then restore any subsequent log backups to bring the database up to the desired point in time.

Restoring a Log Backup

A log backup is a type of backup that captures the changes made to a database since the last log backup or the last full backup. To restore a SQL Server database from a log backup, follow these steps:

  • Open SSMS and connect to the instance of SQL Server where the database resides.
  • Right-click on the “Databases” folder, and select “Restore Database.”
  • In the “General” page of the Restore Database dialog box, select the “Device” option and browse for the backup file.
  • In the “Options” page, select the appropriate options for your restore, such as the location of data and log files.
  • Click “OK” to begin the restore process.

Alternatively, you can use the following T-SQL command to restore a log backup:

RESTORE LOG [DatabaseName]
FROM DISK = ‘C:\Backups\DatabaseName_Log.bak’
WITH NORECOVERY;


This command restores the log backup to the database and leaves the database in a “Restoring” state. You can then restore any subsequent log.

FAQ: Restoring a SQL Server Database

1. What is the process of restoring a database in SQL Server?
Restoring a database in SQL Server involves several steps that can be executed using either SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or Transact-SQL (T-SQL) commands. It is essential for recovering data from a backup.

2. How can I restore a SQL Server database from a full backup using SSMS?
To restore a SQL Server database from a full backup using SSMS, follow these steps:

  • Open SSMS and connect to the SQL Server instance where the database resides.
  • Right-click on the “Databases” folder and select “Restore Database.”
  • In the “General” page of the Restore Database dialog box, choose the “Device” option and browse for the backup file.
  • In the “Options” page, select the appropriate options for your restore, such as the location of data and log files.
  • Click “OK” to begin the restore process.

How to Restore a SQL Server Database?

More articles to read:

The Importance of Backups in SQL Server – 5 Types

How to Recover a Suspect Database in SQL Server: A Step-by-Step Guide

MS SQL Server Database Backup and Recovery Component

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