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I need to manually retrieve a few rows from a SQL Server 2008 database backup. Normally I create a new database, restore the database backup to the new database, and run my queries. The database is huge, however, so it takes forever to restore.

Is there an easier way to get at the older data?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is no way to restore either a single table or a few rows in SQL server without a third party product. If the table for which you are trying to retrieve few rows is in a separate file group you can restore only that filegroup (assuming you have Enterprise edition).

Else use a third party product like Quest Litespeed. I believe it has a feature that lets you to restore just a table from backup.

If your database is huge, use backup compression (available in SQL 2008 R2 standard and enterprise edition). Usually, a compressed backup takes less time to restore.

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Check out red-gates virtual restore product:

It will give you access to your backups significantly faster than a regular restore.

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You can use ApexSQL Restore – a SQL Server tool that attaches both native and natively compressed SQL database backups and transaction log backups as live databases, accessible via SQL Server Management Studio, Visual Studio or any other third-party tool. It allows attaching single or multiple full, differential and transaction log backups as well as mounting backup sets to a specific point in time

Disclaimer: I work as a Product Support Engineer at ApexSQL

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