The media family on device is incorrectly formed. SQL Server cannot process this media family Error: 3241

When you try to restore a backup of the database you get the following error:


The media family on device ” is incorrectly formed. SQL Server cannot process this media family.
RESTORE HEADERONLY is terminating abnormally. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 3241)

This error occurs due to the following problems:

Fix:

  • If you feel backup could be corrupted take the backup again
  • If you are using FTP then use it in binary mode to copy the backup file into local drive
  • If the versions are different then update the SQL Server on the system into which the backup has to be restored
  • Verify the database backup to check what the issue is.
    Following post helps you verify your database backup: Verify SQL Server Database Backup
  • More about using restore verify only this option in SQL Server can be found here

3 thoughts on “The media family on device is incorrectly formed. SQL Server cannot process this media family Error: 3241

  1. how to know “realind.bak” file is sql server 2005 or 2008. i have only “realind.bak” file but doesn’t know which sql server version. plz give me any method

    1. Shubham.

      Use the below query to find the version of database backup.

      restore headeronly from disk=’C:\Backups\realind.bak’

      Read the value of coulmn SoftwareVersionMajor.
      If the value of SoftwareVersionMajor is 9 then it indicates it is a sql server 2005 backup.
      If its 10 then it indicates 2008 backup.

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