We are having an issue at trying to restore a database:

System.Data.SqlClient.SqlError: The database was backed up on a server running version 13.00.4001. That version is incompatible with this server, which is running version 12.00.2269. Either restore the database on a server that supports the backup, or use a backup that is compatible with this server.


3 Answers 3


Install sql server 2016 developer edition, its free for dev purpose only. Restore the database on 2016 instance and then use this method to move your data back to older version.

Note: be mindful of enterprise features vs standard edition feature incompatiblity and limitations.


The only possible solution is to get a version of SQL Server that is version 2016 or higher. You are currently running version 2014. It is not possible to restore a database to an older version of SQL Server. You can only restore forward.

Once it's restored you can use a number of different methods to copy the database over. For example script the database out, and then copy the data table by table.


You are trying to restore a backup from SQL Server 2016 to a SQL Server 2014 system. You cannot restore new backups on old systems, you can restore old backups on new systems however.

Version of SQL Server you need to install.

Detailed post on why you can't restore a new backup on an old server by Brian Kelley vis MSSQLTips

  • If I download Microsoft® SQL Server® 2016 Service Pack 1 should I be able to upgrade my SQL server? Apr 7, 2018 at 19:09
  • You could do an upgrade, but I would be extremely careful. This could change your licensing agreement, break dependencies, and possibly lose functionality. Usually upgrading SQL Server takes extensive planning and testing. Make sure you completely back up the Database and server if possible as well as anything else associated to it so you can do a roll back if you need to. Some companies do side by side upgrades. I don't know enough about your situation or have enough context to tell you if upgrading is a good solution here. I can tell you that it would not be my first choice. Apr 7, 2018 at 19:16
  • My first choice would be to spin up a VM, install SQL Server 2016, and restore there if I had to access the data immediately. Here's documentation on upgrading, you should be able to upgrade straight to 2016 SP1, but again, use caution. learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/database-engine/install-windows/… Apr 7, 2018 at 19:17
  • @RodolfoCalvo You can't apply just SP1 to upgrade 2014 -> 2016. You need to upgrade the instance to 2016 and then apply SP1. You can slipstream this so it's one step, I just wanted to make it clear that the SP1 download alone isn't going to help you. Apr 7, 2018 at 19:43

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