The media family on device '%ls' is incorrectly formed – Troubleshooting SQL Server Backup Restore error

A reader mailed me about an error he encountered while restoring a database from a .bak (backup) file using SSMS. The error said ‘Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 3241 - The media family on device '%ls' is incorrectly formed.SQL Server cannot process this media family’.

Here are some steps to resolve the error:

1. Before doing a backup, run the command SELECT @@version on both the source and destination servers. This is to make sure that the server where you are restoring the backup (destination server), has a higher version than the source server.

2. One of the primary reasons of this error is the backup going corrupt. You can use the RESTORE HEADERONLY statement to read the backup header information and check for errors. If the backup is corrupted, create a back up again and try.

3. If you are transferring the backup from one location to the other using FTP, transfer the file in binary mode. [original source]

Hopefully following the three steps shown above should resolve the error!

About The Author

Suprotim Agarwal, MCSD, MCAD, MCDBA, MCSE, is the founder of DotNetCurry, DNC Magazine for Developers, SQLServerCurry and DevCurry. He has also authored a couple of books 51 Recipes using jQuery with ASP.NET Controls and a new one recently at The Absolutely Awesome jQuery CookBook.

Suprotim has received the prestigous Microsoft MVP award for nine times in a row now. In a professional capacity, he is the CEO of A2Z Knowledge Visuals Pvt Ltd, a digital group that represents premium web sites and digital publications comprising of Professional web, windows, mobile and cloud developers, technical managers, and architects.

Get in touch with him on Twitter @suprotimagarwal, LinkedIn or befriend him on Facebook


Unknown said...


Restore VerifyOnly will also help ind etecting backup curreption.


Suprotim Agarwal said...

Chintak: Good tip!