I received a .bak file from a customer that I need to Restore, but the Restore exceeds licensed limit of SQL Server 2008 R2 10240 MB per database. All I really need is the DB structure. Is there a way to Restore anyway or for me to just Restore the structure?

4 Answers 4


The only way would be to restore to an edition of SQL Server besides the express edition, then delete the data that you don't need. Then shrink the database below the 10 Gig limit then backup and restore to your express instance.

If this is for a development machine look at getting a copy of SQL Server Developer Edition. It's usually about $50.00 and doesn't have any limitations like database size. It's only limitation is that you can't use the instance for production use.


Adding to what @mrdenny mentioned...

You can Download free full-featured trial versions of SQL Server that you can use for up to 180 days here.

You can restore the database on the trial version and then script out the database excluding the data.

Again, remember, you just have 180 days as trial and then depending on your requirements (if you need more time, etc) you can purchase a DEV edition for NON-production use.


If this is a one-off process, you could also use Red Gate SQL Compare Pro to do it.

  1. Create a blank destination DB.
  2. Use SQL Compare Pro and compare the destination DB against the backup (BAK) file.
  3. Push/sync structure to the destination DB.

Another option in addition to installing a full version of SQL Server would be to give a try to Idera's SQL Virtual database.

It has the following features (quote from their presentation material):

  • Immediate access - get data from backup files instantly
  • Acts like a real database - Use 3rd party and native tools
  • OLR replacement - better solution to object level recovery
  • Multiple Uses - reporting, data extraction, analysis, etc.
  • Read/Write support - inserts, updates, DBCC commands

So you should be able to install its trial version, mount the database backup that you have, extract your schema via compare tools or queries (generated from SSMS).

A nice tutorial on how to use it you can find on Pinal Dave's blog.

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