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Summary: Regular database backups are crucial for data recovery after server crashes. Learn how to manually restore MDF files from a .bak backup file in MS SQL Server Management Studio, and consider using Kernel SQL Backup Recovery for efficient recovery.

Database backups serve as a crucial lifeline for database administrators in the event of server crashes. It is highly advisable to regularly perform database backups because data loss can occur unexpectedly and for various reasons. There may be instances where you are unable to access SQL tables, functions, and other database components. In such scenarios, having a backup file (.bak file) stored on your hard drive allows you to effortlessly restore the entire SQL database using MS SQL Database Management Studio. This process enables you to restore all previously deleted or lost database objects to their original state with precision. While we recommend using a professional tool for SQL data restoration, we will initially explore a manual approach.

Manually Restoring MDF Database from a .bak file

Here is a very quick and easy process by which you can restore your MDF files from the backup SQL file.

STEP 1: To begin, establish a connection with the database server by using MS SQL Server Management Studio. After successfully connecting, navigate to the left pane and locate the Database node. Right-click on it and select the option to Restore a Database.

connect to the database server using MS SQL Server Management Studio

STEP 2: Now, browse to select the destination and source.

  • Under Destination for Restore: Choose from the two options – To Database and To a point in time.
  • Under Source for Restore: Choose from the two options – From Database and From Device.

Choose from the two options

STEP 3: During this stage, locate the backup file on your device and select “OK” to reveal the list of backup sets.

browse for the backup file

STEP 4: Select the set from the list of backup sets to restore the database and click OK to begin the restore.

list of backup sets

STEP 5: After successfully completing the restoration process from the backup file to the MDF database, a pop-up message will appear, stating, “The database ‘Database Name’ has been restored successfully.” Simply click OK, and your database will be ready for use.

restore of database

Please note: If you already have the .bak file in the existing data, you will have to restore the .bak file to a different database.

Hope this method works hassle-free with no data loss. But, just in case the manual method does not work, or you face errors while restoring from a .bak file, we recommend a professional and efficient third-party tool – Kernel SQL Backup Recovery. TThis tool offers a top-tier SQL backup recovery solution suitable for both experienced professionals and beginners. It boasts outstanding functionality for seamlessly recovering data from SQL backup files and transferring it to live SQL or batch files, all without any size limitations. The SQL Backup Recovery tool can also identify the SQL backup file version and rectify damaged database backup files. So, you can sit back and relax while this tool swiftly restores your SQL database, saving you valuable time.

Let Us Go Through the Steps of the Kernel for SQL Backup Recovery Tool:

Download and then install the trial version of Kernel for SQL Backup Recovery tool from the software website. Then, perform the given steps one by one.

  1. Launch the Kernel for SQL Backup Recovery tool.
    SQL Backup Recovery - Home Screen
  2. Click on … (browse button) to add the SQL backup (BAK) file. Select a scanning mode for the recovery and also choose the SQL database version. Then click the Next option.
    add SQL backup (BAK) file
  3. The software initiates a scan of the data within the uploaded SQL backup file and extracts all accessible objects. You can choose a specific object from the SQL backup file for a preview. Subsequently, click the “Save” icon located at the top.
    Check preview
  4. You have two choices for saving your data: either to the live SQL Server by entering the necessary information as outlined below, or to a batch file by selecting a saving path location and clicking “OK.”
    Select saving mode
  5. The tool will start saving the database objects from the SQL backup file to the selected destination; it will show the progress as well.
    Saving database
  6. After the completion of the process, a confirmation message will be displayed.
    Process completed

Hence, MDF files are successfully restored from the SQL BAK files.


To recover SQL backup files in SQL Server, SQL Management Studio is the recommended tool. Nevertheless, in the event of a corrupted or damaged backup file, SQL Management Studio might fail to recognize and restore it. In such cases, it is advisable to employ Kernel for SQL Backup Recovery for restoring a corrupted SQL Backup file to either a live SQL database or a batch file.