Issues when restoring or attaching a database from higher to Lower SQL Server Versions

Why can’t a database from a higher version of SQL Server be restored to a lower version?


It will fail if you attempt to restore a database from a database backup created on a SQL Server 2008 instance to a SQL Server 2005 or lower version. We’ll look at why a SQL Server Database from a higher version can’t be restored onto a lower version of SQL Server in this article.

When restoring a SQL Server 2008 database backup on SQL Server 2005 or earlier versions, an error message appears.

The media family ‘Drive:\BackupFolder\DatabaseName.BAK’ on device, the database name ‘DatabaseName.BAK’ was wrongly generated. This media family cannot be processed by SQL Server.
RESTORE DATABASE is quitting unexpectedly.

The internal version number of SQL Server 2008 differs from that of SQL Server 2005 or lower versions, which is the cause of the issue. The restore process fails because the internal version number of SQL Server 2008 is higher than that of a SQL Server 2005 database.

Important Note: -By Microsoft’s design, you will not be able to restore a database backup from a higher version of SQL Server to a lower version of SQL Server. The database backup and restore procedure does not allow you to downgrade a database.

Why can’t a SQL Server database from a higher version be attached to a SQL Server database from a lower version?

If you try to attach a SQL Server database that was built on a SQL Server 2008 instance to a SQL Server 2005 or lower edition, the process will fail with the error below.

When joining a SQL Server 2008 database to a SQL Server 2005 or lower edition, an error message appears.

The database ‘DatabaseName’ was unable to be created. The CREATE DATABASE operation has been failed.
Since it is version 655, the database ‘DatabaseName’ cannot be created. Versions 611 and before are supported on this server.

The error notice above clearly states that the database cannot be opened on a SQL Server 2005 server because the database you are attempting to attach is version 655. Only databases with a version of 611 or earlier can be opened by SQL Server 2005. Check out the following article to learn more about a database’s internal version number.

Database Compatibility Levels and Internal Database Version Numbers for different SQL Server versions are shown in the table below :

Conclusion :

You learned why you can’t restore or attach a SQL Server database from a higher version to a lower version in this post.

Difference between Security Patch, Hotfix and Service Pack

Security Patch – Publicly released update to fix a known bug/issue
A security patch is a change applied to an asset to correct the weakness described by a vulnerability. This corrective action will prevent successful exploitation and remove or mitigate a threat’s capability to exploit a specific vulnerability in an asset.

Security patches are the primary method of fixing security vulnerabilities in software. Currently Microsoft releases their security patches once a month, and other operating systems and software projects have security teams dedicated to releasing the most reliable software patches as soon after a vulnerability announcement as possible.

Hotfix – update to fix a very specific issue, not always publicly released
A hotfix is a single, cumulative package that includes one or more files that are used to address a problem in a software product (i.e. a software bug). Typically, hotfixes are made to address a specific customer situation and may not be distributed outside the customer organization.

A hotfix package might contain several encompassed bug fixes, raising the risk of possible regressions. An encompassed bug fix is a software bug fix which is not the main objective of a software patch, but rather the side-effect of it. Because of this some libraries for automatic updates like Stable Update also offer features to uninstall the applied fixes if necessary.

In a Microsoft Windows context, hotfixes are small patches designed to address specific issues, most commonly to freshly-discovered security holes. These are small files, often automatically installed on the computer with Windows Update (although some may only be able to be obtained via Microsoft Support) and could contain a hot patch eliminating the need for a reboot.

Service Pack – Large Update that fixes many outstanding issues, normally includes all Patches, Hotfixes, Maintenance releases that predate the service pack.

A service pack (in short SP) is a collection of updates, fixes and/or enhancements to a software program delivered in the form of a single installable package. Many companies, such as Microsoft or Autodesk, typically release a service pack when the number of individual patches to a given program reaches a certain (arbitrary) limit. Installing a service pack is easier and less error-prone than installing a high number of patches individually, even more so when updating multiple computers over a network. Service packs are usually numbered, and thus shortly referred to as SP1, SP2, SP3 etc