If we have ArcSDE 9.3.1 running on MSSQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and we do a full backup of a geodatabase. Then I try to restore the .bak file to a MSSQL Server 2008 R2 Express on a machine that doesn't have SDE installed, does this create a proper geodatabase? What about the sde user in the previous geodatabase..does that need to be created prior?

We want to do some testing of converting an APDM geodatabase from Oracle to MSSQL Server but would like to do a lot of testing locally on a MSSQL Server Express.

2 Answers 2


1- Click the Windows "Start" button and select "All Programs." Click the "SQL Server" icon. Click "SQL Server Management Studio" to open your console.

2- Right-click the SQL Server database on the left side of the window and select "Tasks." Click "Restore" to open the wizard. Similar to backing up a database, most of the SQL Server defaults are sufficient for quickly recovering a database file.

3- Enter the restoration database name in the "Restore To" text box. This can be the original name of the database, or you can give it a new name.

4- Click the "Add" button in the "Backup Location" section. In the opened dialog window, click your .BAK file and click "OK."

Notes: Make sure your paths are the same as the original source of the Database

If there were SDE Geodatabase Locks on the original when the backup was taking place it is likely to cause issues when loaded into the new database. 5- Click "Restore" to recover your database. This may take several minutes, and SQL Server sends a success message when the process is completed.

  • Would this process create a proper SDE geodatabase in MSSQL Server even if the machine doesn't have SDE installed? We did these steps prior and everything seemed to work fine. We were able to browse the db in Mngmt Studio but then we closed Mngmt Studio and now we can't even get Mngt Studio to find the instance we were working with. All this is happening locally on a regular desktop.
    – Justin
    Jul 25, 2011 at 20:32
  • Sounds like a commit action was not preformed. SET IMPLICIT_TRANSACTIONS msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms187807.aspx
    – Mapperz
    Jul 25, 2011 at 20:50

Restoring the SDE geodatabase to another machine will re-create the database properly - but make sure to use the same database names as before.

The sde user in the database will be restored, BUT the sde login on the server will not. You'll have to recreate any login(s) that were in use previously, and associate the logins with the users.

See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms175475.aspx for more info about orphaned users.

Bottom line: you don't need the SDE programs installed to access an SDE geodatabase, but you will need to be able to successfully connect to the database.

  • Using the same db name as before is nice to know. In retrospect, this must have been what Mapperz was saying in his note..though it was over my head. Thanks guys.
    – Justin
    Jul 26, 2011 at 14:47

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