SQL SERVER – Msg 3168, Level 16 – The Backup of the System Database on the Device Cannot be Restored Because it was Created by a Different Version of the Server

In the recent past, I have written a blog about Ransomware. Here is the link. SQL SERVER – How to Protect Your Database from Ransomware?. In this blog post we are going to discuss about system database.

One of my client was hit with Ransomware and they contacted me. Luckily, they had database backups in another location and all they wanted was to build a new server and go back to the old state. They have reinstalled same version of operating system and installed the same version of SQL Server. Now, to go back to a previous state, they wanted to restore all databases from backup. While restoring master, they were getting error related to SQL version.

Msg 3168, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
The backup of the system database on the device cannot be restored because it was created by a different version of the server (10.50.2550) than this server (10.50.2500).
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
RESTORE DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

The error message is about version mismatch. If you get the same error while restoring master (or msdb or models), you need to make a note of two things.

  1. The version on which backup was taken. (First build number in error message)
  2. Current version of SQL Server. (Second build number on error message.


To restore any system database backup, #1 and #2 should match. If they don’t, then SQL would raise error message during restore. You should refer to and find the desired build number and download it.

  • If the current bid is lower and apply the desired patch.
  • If the current bid is higher than uninstall the patch (or patches) till both become same.

Hope this would help. If you have more ideas and thoughts, please share via comments.

Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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