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