Late last month, I created a site collection backup via Granular Backup in Central Administration. In that time, one of our users has overwritten a file that now needs to be recovered from a document library on that backup (as an aside, document versioning is not an option as the project sponsors decided not to use this feature when the site was created). When I attempt to use "Recover Data from an Unattached Content Database" to get into the backup file, I receive the following error:

There is a compatibility range mismatch between the Web server and database "Backup Database Name", and connections to the data have been blocked to due to this incompatibility. This can happen when a content database has not been upgraded to be within the compatibility range of the Web server, or if the database has been upgraded to a higher level than the web server. The Web server and the database must be upgraded to the same version and build level to return to compatibility range.

I have tried changing database permissions, using system accounts, and even tried restoring the file to a different box entirely, but am having no luck. These are my questions:

  • What does the error mean and how can I check compatibility range? (I have done some searching of the error, but most of the results relate to an Excel error in SharePoint)
  • Is there a way to just explore the .bak file to view the individual files?
  • Is there another way to try and restore the files out of backup (perhaps via stsadm or another method)?
  • What type of file is the .bak? (As a shot in the dark, I tried making it an .mdf to see if I could attach it to a database, but that didn't pan out)

It also may be entirely possible that I am doing the backup restore process incorrectly. I tried following these instructions, but received the error at Step 4.

1 Answer 1


This sounds like some patches (probably Service Pack 1) have been applied to the servers since the backup was made. However, you may want to open up a dev or test machine and only build to the version prior to whatever patch was made, then restore from that location to find your file and put it back into the correct location on the server.

  • The last time updates were installed on the server was before the backup was run. At least according to Windows Update on that server.
    – Psycho Bob
    Aug 12, 2011 at 17:49
  • That would be windows updates, but SharePoint patches may have been applied. Those are applied separately.
    – Lori
    Aug 12, 2011 at 17:52
  • How would I determine what the version of the backup is to see if it matches the current site version?
    – Psycho Bob
    Aug 12, 2011 at 18:11

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