• I have a filegroup that we need to restore to get data back that has been removed from the database after the last backup I cannot touch
  • The production systems because they are running
  • The primary filegroup is just over 1TB in size (don't blame me I didn't do that and it makes me want to cry)
  • I don't have anywhere large enough to restore that Primary filegroup
  • The filegroup I wish to restore is only 60 GB in size
  • I simply need the data from one table out of the filegroup
  • The system is all in a remote location so the backup can not be removed from there and potentially loaded elsewhere
  • I have a test 'copy' of the database, but that is generated through scripts and is 1/1000 of the size but contains all the same tables etc as the main database, just next to none of the data content
  • I only need to restore from the full backup

Code Sample

RESTORE DATABASE testEnvironment
filegroup = 'requiredFileGroup'
from disk = 
N'requiredFileGroup_file1' to N'F:\requiredFileGroup_file1.ndf',
N'requiredFileGroup_file2' to N'F:\requiredFileGroup_file2.ndf',
stats = 1


  • When trying to restore I get the error 3154
    • The backup set holds a backup of a database other than the existing 'testEnvironment' database.
  • This occurs when trying to restore to a new file location, or overwriting the files that currently exist in the test environment
  • As mentioned the Primary Filegroup is too large to be restored anywhere

Any ideas on a work around for this would be greatly appreciated


1 Answer 1


Well, sad to say you can't do a piecemeal restore and bring a secondary filegroup online without the primary being online first. If there is a hack to get around this I am not aware of it.

If your primary filegroup is at 1TB and you are not using it, why not just do a one time shrink to a more manageable size? This is not uncommon to do in production environments where a large amount of data may have been purged and you want to reclaim the space. As well, if you have no ability to test your backups your are in a far worse situation.

  • Unfortunately we are using the 108 tables that are on the primary, I tested it last month, when I had 3Tb of space to play with, but unfortunately that has all gone the journey now
    – Ste Bov
    Nov 29, 2015 at 12:29
  • So you have 1TB of data in your primary file then?
    – user507
    Nov 29, 2015 at 12:31
  • We're using about 850 GB of it, its spilt into 9 files
    – Ste Bov
    Nov 29, 2015 at 12:40

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