How To restore to lower SQL Server version

11 June,2014 by Tom Collins

Question: I need to restore a SQL Server database  to a lower version . The current database is on a SQL Server 2008 R2 (10.50.1600) and would like to restore to a SQL Server 2008 (10.0.4000). Is this possible and what techniques can I use?

Answer: It is possible to export  a SQL Server 2008 R2 database to SQL Server 2008 server but you cannot RESTORE or ATTACH a database from a higher version onto a lower version SQL Server.


Method 1 :   Export the data from the SQL Server 2008 R2 server and import on the SQL Server 2008 server. For this to work , you'll need to do some analysis of the database structure. You may need to complete the method 3 first. i.e Generate scripts to recreate the tables - which will the allow you to import the data

Method 2 :  Use the COPY  DATABASE feature: Find by right clicking the source database > Tasks> Copy Database...... Follow the Copy Database  wizard

Method 3: Generate scripts: Script structure and data using SSMS. The added complication is the order of execution. Object scripts are not number ordered therefore you’ll need to manage the dependencies. A  very large database requires planning.


Before you start any of these steps , ensure you have a full backup 

Read More on SQL Server Backup and Restore topics 

SQL Server - Predict SQL BACKUP DATABASE finish time with sys.dm_exec_requests

SQL Server – Restore Database Estimated Finish Time

SQL Server - Display restore history for a single database

SQL Server - Display sql backup history for a single database

SQL Server - Move MDF/LDF files to a designated path

SQL Server - BackUp All Databases

Author: Tom Collins (


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