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How to Open Bak file

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on July 15, 2024
Open Bak
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If you’re new to working with databases, you might not know the purpose of a .bak file, or how to open one for that matter.

If you’re wondering how to open a .bak file, look no further than this article.

In this article, I will cover some key information on how to open a .back file.

Let’s get into it.

What Is A .Bak File?

In short, a .bak file is a backup file that is a part of a program’s autosave procedure. Before a program overwrites an existing file, it might make a copy of the existing file beforehand.

This is a .bak file, and the program adding this to the end of the file name indicates to the user that it is a backup.

Today, the most common .bak files are database backups of SQL Server databases, but this doesn’t mean that other programs don’t still create files with this extension.

As this extension is used for a variety of types, these programs don’t follow a standard format when producing .bak files.

As a result, the format of the .bak file will depend on the program in question.


How To Open A .Bak File

.bak files can be created by multiple programs. As a result, if you don’t have information on the file’s history, you will therefore have to take the steps to extract information from the file.



Locate The Program

If you have some information about the file’s history, such as what program it’s from, locate the program in question to see whether there is a restore button for the file.



Restore File

If this isn’t the case, to be able to see the information in a backup of a database, you will first need to restore it.

Without restoring it beforehand, you will end up with characters that are all over the place and that you won’t be able to read or take anything from the data.


How Do You Restore A .Bak File?

It’s not possible to open and read the contents of a SQL Server .bak file unless you restore it.

So, how do you go about restoring it?



Find The Database

First you will need to find the database that you want to restore. Right-click on the database, find Tasks in the drop down, then find Restore, and Database.



Check The Radio Button “From Device” And Click

Following this, you will need to check the radio button “From device” and click in order to find the location of the .bak file.



Click Add

Click Add to choose the .bak file in question.



Find the Folder that Contains the Specific .bak File

Following this, you need to find the folder that contains the specific .bak file and click it to restore.



Click OK

After you have selected the file, click OK and then click OK again. This will take you back, where you need to select the backups that you would like to restore.



It’s Important That You Tick The Full Backup And The Transaction Log

It’s important that you tick the Full backup and the transaction log to ensure that the restoration process is a success.

Once you have clicked both of these and you click OK, the restoration process should have been completed successfully.

Provided this has worked, your database will be online and you will be able to access all of the data that you need.

Can You Delete .Bak Files?

Yes, it is possible to delete .bak files. It’s good to have periodical purges of old files from your computer to ensure that you keep your workspace tidy and to free up storage space.

However, you will want to ensure that you’ve checked what you’re deleting isn’t something that you need for the future.

If in doubt, you can always create a temporary folder and place the .bak files in question in this folder until you have verified whether it is fine to delete them.

In Summary

So, that’s how you open a .back file!

I hope after reading this article you know how to open a .back file, as well as some important information on restoring .bak files.

Good luck!

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.