There is a database on a server of which I would like a copy on my local machine for testing purposes, so I created a backup in the default disk location (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Backup). The backup dialog says it completes successfully, but when I go to restore the .bak, it's not visible to the file selection dialog (significant file names blurred, obviously).

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There are other viable backups in the same location, but the one I supposedly created does not appear. When attempting to recreate the backup, the one I created appears as a selectable option, while the others in the folder do not.

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What is the issue here? I don't think it's a permissions problem because I'm able to access the other backups in the same folder.

Edit: The backup was on the server which has a similar file structure to my machine. I remoted in to the server and copied the file. Thanks for the help!

  • What happens if you try changing the file type selection to "All Files (*)" Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 18:37
  • 1
    Just to confirm: the DB you're backing up is on your local machine, and when you restore it (under a different name), the restored DB will also be on your local machine - correct?
    – RDFozz
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 18:40
  • Have you tried backing up to a non-default folder (after making sure the DB Engine user account has rights to that folder)?
    – CaM
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 18:48
  • Program Files vs. Program Files (x86) folder?
    – Jacob H
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 16:22

5 Answers 5


I've made the mistake before of missing out or mistyping the .bak file extension during backup and then it fails to display file when trying to locate for restore.


You did not save the files where you think you did.

In the first image there are 9 folders below 'Microsoft SQL Server' and above 'MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER' in the second screen shot there are only 5.

This is possibly an issues with your local machine VS a seperate server. Assuming the address you are following are identical (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Backup) the only solution remaining is that the C drives are on different machines.


SQL Server keeps track of the actual location it wrote the backup file to. Review this T-SQL to get the information you need.

            CASE [a].[type]
                WHEN 'D' THEN 'Full'
                WHEN 'I' THEN 'Differential'
                WHEN 'L' THEN 'Transaction Log'
                ELSE [a].[type]
            END AS [BackupType],
FROM        [msdb].[dbo].[backupset] AS [a]
JOIN        [msdb].[dbo].[backupmediafamily] AS [b] ON [a].[media_set_id] = [b].[media_set_id]
WHERE       [a].[database_name] = ''
ORDER BY    [a].[backup_finish_date] DESC

If you are unable to find the file in the location SQL Server specifies, that indicates one of the following scenarios:

  1. You do not have permission on the disk to view the file
  2. The file has been moved / deleted by a user or process

Source of T-SQL: https://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertip/2960/sql-server-backup-paths-and-file-management/


It is not permission related situation. I have seen this situation in so many forums where user do not find the .bak file for restoring.

In that case, you can take a backup of the database at any location on the local machine and, copy the .bak file to the backup folder of the SQL database.


For me it was as simple as moving the .bak files to the path for that SQL instance. I.E., C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL15.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA You will know you are at the correct place if you can see the master/model/msdb databases.

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