Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a cusotmer who sent me their database dump, which I'm supposed to import into MS SQL 2005 and have a look at.

Unfortunately, it is (I am told) from MS SQL 4.2 (circa 1992), (which apparently also had some sort of Y2K patch applied to it...).

When I try to import the .bak file, I get a restore media family incorrectly formed error.

Anyone have any experience with this? Any advice would be appreciated.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You will have to do this in steps. IIRC, you will need to get SQL server 6.0 or 6.5 running on a machine first, then restore to that. Then back that up and restore to a SQL Server 7(which you also need to set up), then back that up and restore to SQL Server 2005. You should be able to skip over SQL Server 2000.

You could use virtual machines for this, since it's a one time thing and such an old database probably isn't that big. If you have MSDN or TechNet, you may be able to find all of the required versions there. You will also have to restore onto appropriate versions of Windows since there may be incompatibilities between newer and older software.

In short, this is a tedious and time consuming project.

share|improve this answer
I was worried about that haha :S Thanks @darin. – Jarrett Jan 11 '13 at 23:57
@Jarrett I would add a step: When you restore, you should bump up the db version to the current one at each step. I would: Restore to vN, do a backup of that ("On-N--N-Minus-backup"), then update the db version, then back it up again ("On-N--N-Ver-backup"). You want to use the "N-Ver" backup for each step. – samsmith Jan 20 '13 at 17:52
Thanks @samsmith. As it turns out, before I was able to start the conversion, a co-worker developed a parser in C# .NET and started parsing the .DAT files manually (which worked), so lucky, I don't have to go through this process :) – Jarrett Jan 20 '13 at 17:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.