Is there any way to restore a SQL server backup (.bak) without the password? The file is not encrypted so I can see most of the data when I open it with notepad but I can't restore it to SQL Server.

  • Do you have access to the original database (to make another backup)? – RQDQ Jan 19 '11 at 18:09
  • No. that server is no longer online. – Noel Jan 19 '11 at 18:27

Media passwords are rather easy to bypass which is why they are being removed in future versions. With some creative searching online you'll find some articles on how to replace the password in the backup file with a known value which would then allow you to restore the backup.

I'd put the information in here, but this isn't the place for that sort of info as it mostly has nefarious uses.

  • I was NOT able to find and article on how replace the password but I probably wasn't creative enough in my searches. MS basically says the same thing about how this type of protection is week: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/… Luckily I found the password today so this is not longer an issue. Thanks for the help – Noel Jan 20 '11 at 22:08

IIRC this is nothing to do with SA passwords, but rather a password you can set on a backup itself as part of the backup process. I think you may be out of luck here - the whole point of the backup password is to prevent this sort of thing happening illicitly. Your best bet is to call Microsoft PSS and see if they can help you.


What password are you referring to exactly? Do you mean you don't have an SA or equivalent login on the instance where you are restoring the BAK?

What error message are you seeing that prompted the question?

I believe that when restoring a BAK file, normally the only password that is required would be for the SA login on the instance where the BAK is being restored.

  • i have the sa password for the new server. I don't have the sa password for the old server. This is the error that I'm getting Msg 3279, Level 16, State 2, Line 1 Access is denied due to a password failure Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 1 RESTORE DATABASE is terminating abnormally. – Noel Jan 19 '11 at 18:56

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