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I'm trying to use 'RESTORE HEADERONLY' to get the date when the backup I'm about to restore was made.

The command:

RESTORE HEADERONLY FROM DISK = '<path to .bak file>'

works fine in query analyzer and gives a resultset with something like 50 columns.

The problem is actually accessing this from code.

I can get this into a temptable by declaring every single one of the 50:ish columns, inserting into it with exec and getting the value I want from there.

The problem is that I really want to avoid having to declare the entire resultset as a temptable as it seems like a very brittle solution if they ever add columns to it in future versions.

Is there any way to just get a single column out of this resultset without declaring all the columns?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This works for me.

SELECT BackupStartDate 
FROM DISK = ''''C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.MSSQL2008\MSSQL\Backup\DB1.bak''''

The ad hoc distributed queries Option needs to be enabled. Or if you don't want to do that you can set up a loopback linked server and use that instead.

EXEC sp_addlinkedserver @server = 'LOCALSERVER',  @srvproduct = '',
                        @provider = 'SQLOLEDB', @datasrc = @@servername

SELECT BackupStartDate 
               'SET FMTONLY OFF;
               RESTORE HEADERONLY 
               FROM DISK = ''''C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.MSSQL2008\MSSQL\Backup\DB1.bak''''
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I dont think I will be able to sell accepting the security implications of turning on ad hoc queries:/ Still though, thank you for the idea. Other people might be able to use it. –  alun Feb 8 '12 at 11:05
@alun - You can set up a linked server instead. –  Martin Smith Feb 8 '12 at 11:17
Interesting. I will give that a try. Thank you. –  alun Feb 8 '12 at 12:22
This seems to work perfectly. Nice work! –  alun Feb 8 '12 at 14:11
+1 Pretty clever way to avoid having to declare the table. –  Jason Cumberland Feb 8 '12 at 18:50

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