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Worst case scenario - the server crashed and the 2014 SQL Server .bak file had to be recovered from the failed disk. The .bak file I have is over 20gb in size but is unusable when trying to restore from it. I built a new server and it is running SQL Server 2014 developer, just like the old server (the new server backs up all the database to the cloud, local drives, virtual drives, and network drives. I also have a script on a cron job to verify all the backup media files daily now as well).

I was able to restore some of the data but now my customer is asking us for a certain date range that I can't provide.

I have been reading a lot about this and everything indicates that it is a SQL Server version related issue however I think it has something to do with how the .bak file was recovered (maybe ASCII vs Binary file format?).

I know the data is there or the file wouldn't be over 20gb, I just need to get SQL to recognize it as valid backup media.

Any suggestions is greatly appreciated!

RESTORE HEADERONLY 
FROM DISK = 'D:\!Recovered Drives From Old Server\ONTMaster Recovery File\ONTMaster.bak'
GO

RESTORE VERIFYONLY 
FROM DISK = 'D:\!Recovered Drives From Old Server\ONTMaster Recovery File\ONTMaster.bak'
GO

Here is the error I receive:

Msg 3241, Level 16, State 0, Line 1
The media family on device 'D:!Recovered Drives From Old Server\ONTMaster Recovery File\ONTMaster.bak' is incorrectly formed. SQL Server cannot process this media family.
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
RESTORE HEADERONLY is terminating abnormally.
Msg 3241, Level 16, State 0, Line 5
The media family on device 'D:!Recovered Drives From Old Server\ONTMaster Recovery File\ONTMaster.bak' is incorrectly formed. SQL Server cannot process this media family.
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 5
VERIFY DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 27 '15 at 8:46

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  • Are you sure you are restoring to 2014 edition? I ask because I think that's the error you get if you try to restore a backup from a later edition to an earlier edition. – redcalx Apr 26 '15 at 22:22
  • Thanks! I posted this question in dba exchange as well. – Mark6109 Apr 27 '15 at 0:08
  • Yes, I am 100% sure I am restoring from 2014 and the .bak file was created in 2012. SQL does not even recognize the file as backup media (It says "No backup selected to be restored", even though it is pointing to the correct directory/file). I am an expert in database recovery but this one has me stumped... – Mark6109 Apr 27 '15 at 0:09
  • just a silly question, but is it possible that your path is the issue here? have you tried moving the file to a path that doesn't include an !? – Claies Apr 27 '15 at 2:37
  • some one asked same questio here: social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/sqlserver/en-US/… – Saurabh Sinha Jan 9 '17 at 11:21
1

There can be several causes for this error:

  1. The backup is corrupted as it has not been transferred in binary mode If you are using FTP to transfer the backup, make sure the file is transferred in binary mode
  2. The version of your backup is different than the SQL Server instance you are trying to restore it to. You can try to restore to a SQL server instance with the right version and transfer the data with SSIS
  3. The backup is corrupt. In this case your options are limited
  • I found this .bak recovery SW on technet. gallery.technet.microsoft.com/… hopefully I will be able to simulate the tables so I can recover the data using SSIS. Thanks everyone and I will confirm this did the trick. – Mark6109 Apr 27 '15 at 0:33
  • So I tried moving the bak file to a different location (without the explanation mark) and did not have any luck. It does not recognize the file as backup media. I need to somehow convert the file to binary, I believe it is in ASCII format when it was recovered from the failed hard drive. – Mark6109 Apr 27 '15 at 12:37
  • I don't think you will be able to convert it from ASCII back to binary. Do you or your IT department still have access to the failed drive ? – Jaco Apr 27 '15 at 12:42
  • Yes, I still have the failed drive. – Mark6109 Apr 27 '15 at 13:44
  • Can you copy the backup again, in this case using binary transfer mode? – Jaco Apr 27 '15 at 13:50

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