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Summary: This content discusses the SQL Server Error 3156, which can occur during database restoration. It provides possible reasons behind the error, two methods for restoration, and suggests using an advanced tool for fixing SQL database corruption issues. The article emphasizes the importance of a careful approach due to the complexity of the error.

Microsoft SQL Server is a widely used database management application employed by numerous organizations worldwide. Despite its rich array of features, businesses also encounter significant challenges that disrupt their operations.

One random issue that can arise is the occurrence of an ‘SQL Server Error 3156’ where the database restoration process encounters difficulties. To provide precise information, the error is described as follows, along with a detailed message extraction:

“SQL error 3156: SQL error 3156: File ‘filename’ cannot be restored to ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.3\MSSQL\FTData\Name’. Use WITH MOVE command to identify a valid location for the file.”

What exactly is this error, and how can we promptly address it? Within this article, we will comprehensively address your inquiries and offer practical solutions. After following the restoration methods, you could easily works on existing databases and export SQL Server tables to a CSV file easily and without facing an error.

Getting started

Prior to delving into solutions for this error, it is crucial to verify the user’s permission to restore the specified file. To do so, please adhere to the following steps:

  • If you wish to try out this choice, launch Windows Explorer and subsequently replicate the path (directory) provided in the error message by copying and pasting it.
  • Verify your permissions; if they are lacking, consider restoring them in an alternate location or directory, ensuring that the folder retains its permissions. Alternatively, you may choose to grant permissions to the specified users within the folder.

Now, if you still face issues, there might be several possibilities.

Possible Reasons Behind the Occurrence of SQL Server Error 3156

The message in error signifies that both logical and physical file names can’t be restored. This is due to the problem with the specified file location. Below might be the causes:

  • Another file has used the same name, which users can’t override.
  • Users might require access to the specified location or Windows directory.
  • There is an incorrect allocation of the file’s path, or it might not exist in the explorer.
Ways to Restore Database

In addressing the error, numerous solutions are available for rectification. Nevertheless, two distinct methods for resolving the issue involve utilizing the BAK File in SQL Server.

1st Method – Using Transact-SQL To Restore Database From Backup

Follow the command to initiate this process:

Restore Database from Disk = ‘C:\Backups\Backup.Bak’
2nd Method – Restore Database Backup Using SQL Server Management Studio

Follow the steps to resolve this issue through management studio:

  1. Initiate a connection with SQL Server Database engine
  2. Choose Databases with a right-click and select the Restore Database option.Restore Database option
  3. Select From Device option by using the Source field.
  4. Click browse (…) to open the “Select backup devices” window tab.
  5. The next step is to select “Backup media type” as a File, followed by clicking the Add button.clicking the Add button
  6. Then select the .bak file that needs restoration. Finally, Click OK.
  7. Go to the “Select the backup sets to restore” section, and choose the backup file selected in the previous step. Click OK button
  8. Next is to select Options from the left side of the window, then choose the “Overwrite the existing database (WITH RECOVERY)” option from Restore options
  9. Click the “Leave the database ready to use by rolling back uncommitted transactions. Additional transaction logs can be restored. (RESTORE WITH NORECOVERY)” option in the Recovery state section.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Following these steps, you’ll gain the ability to configure permissions and apply solutions for error 3156.

Solutions to Fix SQL Server Error 3156 “Database Cannot Be Restored”

The error might showcase that you have taken the backup from the location: ‘D:\DB\LiveDB.mdf,’ and now you are attempting to restore the database at: ‘F:\ReportDB\ReportDB.mdf’

So, you can use the WITH MOVE command for relocating the database.

Use the Restore Database [ReportDB] command to copy FROM DISK = ‘xyz.bak’ WITH RECOVERY, and then type MOVE ‘LiveDB’ To ‘ F:\ReportDB\ReportDB.mdf.’ Finally, use the MOVE ‘LiveDB_Log’ TO ‘F:\ReportDB\ReportDB.mdf_Log.ldf’, followed by REPLACE, STATS = 10.

Note: In case you are not aware of user interface handling or do not like the method, you have the option for utilizing the T-SQL commands:

USE [master]
RESTORE DATABASE [databasename] FROM DISK = N’C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL14.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Backup\aw.bak’ WITH FILE = 1,
MOVE N’filename’ TO C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.3\MSSQL\FTData\Name’.mdf’,
MOVE N’Logfile_log’ TO N’C:\sql\logfile_log.ldf’, NOUNLOAD, STATS = 5

In this code, MOVE clause is used for moving the files to a specified location.

If, despite your extensive attempts and strategies, you are unable to successfully recover the database, it’s plausible that the BAK file has become corrupted. In such a scenario, SQL Server will be unable to utilize SSMS and T-SQL methods for repairing the compromised backup files.

Alternate Solution – Kernel SQL Database Recovery

If none of the aforementioned methods prove effective in resolving your issue, it is advisable to explore an alternative solution for addressing corruption errors within the SQL database. There are multiple options available in the market to fix SQL databases. For instance, Kernel for SQL Database Recovery is an advanced tool designed to help you scan and fix corruption errors in SQL Databases.

This tool features intelligent algorithms designed to scan SQL databases, identifying and rectifying instances of corruption and errors. It is proficient at restoring corrupt or otherwise inaccessible SQL database files, recovering all associated objects such as tables, functions, triggers, records, and more. A trial version of the tool is accessible, allowing you to recover a restricted amount of data from your SQL databases.


SError 3156 in SQL Server databases is intricate and potentially fraught with peril. A single oversight in the resolution process can result in catastrophic data loss. Employing the MOVE option is a viable alternative, but it carries the risk of file corruption. Hence, the optimal strategy entails the adoption of an automated solution capable of rectifying all corruption errors in SQL databases. This article delves into various potential remedies for addressing the SQL Server 3156 error. After following all the methods, you can restore the database back to SQL Server and export data from SQL database to excel as a form of backup.

Kernel for SQL Database Recovery