What is: ‘.bak’ File Extension? How to Open It?

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The BAK file extension is a backup file used by many different applications for the same purpose. You want to save a copy of one or more files for backup purposes. Most of these file extensions are automatically created by a program that needs to save a backup. This can range from a web browser to store the backed up bookmarks to a special backup program that archives one or more files. It can be used to replace saved bookmarks if the main bookmark file is corrupted.

As this extension is used for backup files of any type, there is no standard format for creating.bak files, so any program that creates.bak files can decide how to format them. This also means that unlike other file types such as .zip or .rar, which have a standard for their creation and how they are not checked in, there is no standard program to extract/import information from a .bak file.

Possible Problems with a BAK file:

  1. Damage to a BAK file being opened.
  2. Incorrect links to the BAK file in the registry entries.
  3. Accidentally delete the BAK description from the Windows registry.
  4. Incomplete installation of an application that supports BAK format.
  5. The BAK file to be opened is infected with unwanted malware.
  6. The computer does not have sufficient hardware resources to manage the opening of the BAK file.
  7. The device drivers used by the computer to open a BAK file are obsolete.

How to Back Up the Database in a BAK file:

  • Open SQL Studio Manager.
  • In the left navigation area, select the instance of the database to be backed up.
  • Right-click > Tasks > Backup.

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  • For Destination, select Disk.
  • The target file must have the extension *.BAK.

How to open a BAK file:

Via Microsoft SQL Server

  1. In the Object Explorer area, click on the name of your SQL Server to display your databases.
  2. Select User Databases, then right-click the name of the database you want to restore.
  3. Move the mouse pointer to Tasks in the drop-down menu, then to Restore, then click on Database.
  4. Click on the “From Device” radio button and then on the”…” button to open the backup media window.
  5. Select File from the drop-down menu, then click the Add button. A File Explorer window appears.
  6. Navigate to the BAK file, select it and click Open to add the file to the backup media.
  7. Click OK, then click OK again to open the file you want to save.

Via Notepad++

  • Double-click the Notepad++ shortcut or hold down the Windows key and press S to open the search function, type Notepad++ and Enter.
  • Click on the Notepad++ Settings menu and choose Preferences.
  • In the left pane, select Backup and check the directory path for backup files (.bak).
  • Locate the backup file, right-click it and choose Open with Notepad++++.
  • You will find all the text in the file before the last recording. You can now save it as a text file or copy the text and use it in another file, it is up to you.


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