Working with Backup Media in SQL Server

To make sure that you can restore your system when you have to, you must manage your backups carefully. Each backup contains any descriptive text that is provided when the backup was created, and also the expiration information of the backup. You can use this information to do the following:

  • Identify a backup.
  • Determine when you can safely overwrite the backup.
  • Identify all the backups on a backup medium, tape or disk, to determine which backup you have to restore.

When working with backups, we recommend that you do the following:

  • Maintain your backups in a secure place, preferably at a secure site different from the site where the data resides.
  • Keep older backups for a designated amount of time, in case the most recent backup is damaged, destroyed, or lost.
  • Label backup media to avoid inadvertently overwriting critical backups. This allows for easy identification of the data stored on the backup media or the specific backup set.
  • Use expiration dates on backups, to also prevent inadvertent overwriting,
  • Establish a system for overwriting backups, reusing the oldest backups first.

In This Section

Topic Description

Backup Devices

Discusses logical and physical backup devices, tape drives or disk drives.

Using Backup Media

Discusses the format used by SQL Server for backup media, the correspondence between backup media and backup devices, and the organization of backups on backup media.

Viewing Information About Backups

Introduces the Transact-SQL statements for displaying information about the database and transaction log files contained in a backup set, the backup header, or the media header.

Verifying Backups

Describes how to verify backups.

Detecting and Coping with Media Errors

Describes detecting errors during a backup or restore operation and controlling whether an operation stops or continues on encountering an error.

Using Mirrored Backup Media Sets

Describes mirrored backup media sets.


For information about how to schedule backup jobs for a database, see Maintenance Plan Wizard.

See Also


Security Considerations for Backup and Restore

Other Resources

Backing Up and Restoring Databases in SQL Server

Help and Information

Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance