I am migrating my database from on-premise to Azure managed instance. In order to move the database I'm using the organization weekly full backup, and I am asking them to take a diff after they take the application offline (the databases are very large).

Question: Can I restore a differential backup on azure managed instance?

When I try to restore the full with norecovery than apply the DIFF. I get an error: "restore with norecovery is not a supported option in azure managed instance"


3 Answers 3


Question: Can I restore a differential backup on azure managed instance?

No. Borrowing from my answer here, Managed Instance only supports the restore of full backups; no log or diff. See this thread:

And the limited syntax diagram for RESTORE in the documentation for Managed Instance:

The docs imply that RESTORE ... FROM URL will implicitly add WITH RECOVERY and so there will be no opportunity for logs or diffs to be applied after the initial restore. So your downtime will be >= the time it takes to take a COPY_ONLY full backup, put it somewhere MI can access, restore it, and re-point your app(s). You might also want to read through this tutorial, for a different approach.


The Azure Database Migration Assistant supports online migration from SQL Server to Managed Instance. But not all the underlying backup/restore functionality to do this is publicly available (currently).

  • I believe that DMS also does not support differential backups, but only full and then logs. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 3:03
  • I believe so, but even the RESTORE LOG is not available for you to do this manually. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 10:52

Restoring differential backups is now possible using Log Replay Service (Preview).

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