SQL Server Copy Only Backups

Hello Folks,

You would have heard this with the arrival of SQL Server 2005.

Well I have made several keynotes on  SQL Server copy only backups so please see it carefully:

  • A  SQL Server copy only backups is a SQL Server backup that is independent of the sequence of conventional SQL Server backups.
  • It is useful to take a backup for a special purpose without affecting the overall backup and restore procedures for the database.
  • The Copy Only Backup is especially useful for taking “one-off” backups for development or testing -the advantage is it doesn’t affect transaction log backups or differential backups.
  • It also cannot serve as a base for differential or transaction log backups when restoring either.
  • There are basically two types of copy-only backups:
    • Copy-Only Full Backups (all recovery models) cannot serve as a differential base or differential backup and does not affect the differential base.
    • Copy-only log Backups (full recovery model and bulk-logged recovery model) preserves the existing log archive point and, therefore, does not affect the sequencing of regular log backups.
  • The transaction log is never truncated after a copy-only backup. Copy-only backups are recorded in the is_copy_only column of the backupset table.
  • Copy-Only Backups can also be performed in the following two ways:
    • With the help of SQL Server Management Studio.
    • With the help of T-SQL.

With the help of SQL Server Management Studio:

Step 1: In the SQL Server Management Studio GUI, perform this:



Step 2: Perform the operations as soon as the dialog box opens up:


With the help of T-SQL:


Well you can see from your result set:


Well this was all about Copy-Only Backups.

And also comments on this!!



Piyush Bajaj

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About Piyush Bajaj

I am very passionate about SQL Server. I also did certification on MCSA – SQL Server 2012, Querying and Administering; MCTS – SQL Server 2008, Database Development; and MCTS – SQL Server 2005, Implementation & Maintenance, which helped me to get more knowledge and interest on this field.Please feel free to drop me any question online or offline, I will try to give you the best possible answer from my side.Right now I am working as a SQL Server developer in TCS. I have an experience of just 2.6 years, well I can only say that “If you have an interest and passion, experience might become a very small thing”.

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3 Comments on “SQL Server Copy Only Backups”

  1. Note

    In SQL server 2005,Copy-only backups can be created or restored only by using the BACKUP and RESTORE Transact-SQL statements. SQL Server Management Studio does not support these backups.

    How ever when you registered SQL server 2005 from SQL server 2008 Management studio(also SQL server 2008 Mangement studio works) you will get that option of Copy_only in the GUI.

    Thanks to Microsoft introducing these, in case of log shipping if you take mannual backup for log (just an example)that may interrupt the LSN’s & log shipping will break (how ever you can apply the mannual one) if the log file backup is missed/deleted.

    how ever using copy_only we can take the log backup without distrubing the Log shipping Backup/restore sequences because it maintain same LSN’s.

    Correct me if Iam wrong here.


    Rama Udaya.K

  2. HI,

    i have configure log shipping in SQL 2005 server. and configure Microsoft Data Protection manager to take back from SQL Server.

    anyway backup process has been failier.

    how can i configure log shipping with copy only backup? or

    do i have to change MS DPM settings.

    Appriciate your help on this. Thank you.


  3. Please help me with this.

    I have production server is using the full recovery model. Full backups are taken monday and wednesday, transaction log backups are taken every hour, today is friday (14/02/2014) the backup needs to be created as quickly as possible, what’s the fastest way to get the latest database copy while minimizing impact to production?

    I can create copy only backup and use that to restore to development or use the wednesday backup, restore the transaction log backups since wednesday or I create a normal backup and use that to restore to development.

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