Error 3241 in SQL Server

(This is a guest blog post by Daniel Jones (li | t | fb). Daniel is a SQL Server DBA and contributor at SQL Tech Tips. Having 2 + years of experience in SQL recovery and system infrastructure.)

Microsoft SQL Server Backup Error Code 3241 Restore Headeronly

Sometimes, the users of MS SQL server faced an error when they try to restore SQL database from the backup file in the SQL server. This error is known as SQL server error 3241 and it generates the below-mentioned error message.

Error 3241 SQL Server

Due to this error message, the users cannot restore the data from the backup file into SQL Server database. Therefore, in this post, we are going to discuss the reason for the occurrence of error 3241 and the relevant solutions to resolve the error.

Causes Behind the Occurrence Of the SQL Server Backup Error 3241

There are various reasons behind this error message. Some of them are described as below:

  • When a user of MS SQL Server tries to restore the data from the backup file that was created on the MS SQL Server 2014 to the SQL Server 2008 then the error message arise. This is the main cause behind the occurrence of this error.
  • The SQL error code 3241 may also occur if SQL Backup Agent Service does not have necessary access permission. To restore the database from backup file into the SQL server, the SQL Backup Agent Service should have read permission to access the folder, which contains the backup file.
  • There is also a possibility that the backup file, which was used for restoring the SQL database, is corrupted. The backup file can be corrupted if it was loaded using FTP Text Mode.

Solutions To Resolve the MS SQL Error 3241 Restore Headeronly

In this section, we are going to discuss some solution to troubleshoot the backup error 3241. These solutions are described as follows:

  • Before starting the process to restore a database from the backup file, we should check the version of SQL server. If the version of SQL server is same as that of the version in which the backup file was created then start the restore process, otherwise upgrade the SQL server database to the same or higher version.

Note: By running the command ‘SELECT @@Version’ in the SQL query window, you can check the version of SQL server.

  • There is a need for access permission to restore data from backup file using SQL Backup Agent Service. The user account, which was used to log on the SQL backup Agent service, should be specified while installing SQL server components on the server instance. SQL Backup Agent Service can get a permission to access some specific folder, where a backup file is saved from the sysadmin.
  • If the backup file was corrupted because of uploading using FTP text mode, then again restore the backup file using FTP in binary mode. If this method fails to repair the corrupted backup file then you can also take the help of SQL BAK file recovery, a third-party utility to recover backup file.

Note: To avoid the Microsoft SQL Server error code 3241, the version of SQL server should be same as that of SQL server version in which backup file is created. SQL Backup Agent Service should have necessary access permission to restore data from backup file and backup file should be upload using FTP in binary mode.


When the users try to restore the database from the backup file then sometimes they are unable to do that because of SQL server error 3241. There are various reasons behind the occurrence of this error such as older version of SQL server, backup file is uploaded using FTP binary mode, etc. Therefore, in this post, we have described the causes of the error and the possible solutions to fix the backup error code 3241.

How to View and Read SQL Server Setup Log Files

How to View and Read SQL Server Setup Log Files

Usually when something goes awry in a SQL Server, the first place that comes to mind to check is the SQL Server error log, or Windows event log. But what if the error was during SQL Server installation? What if you’re installing SQL Server and suddenly the GUI disappears? Poof! Gone! There were no pop-up errors or anything to give you a hint of where to start troubleshooting.

What do you do?

When you first kick off a SQL Server install, there are a couple directories and files that are created. The directories are time stamped and the files within the directories record a detail “process-by-process” snapshot in a plain text file for troubleshooting and record keeping.

Check out this MSDN link to all the setup files SQL Server creates during initial installation. It’s definitely a great place to start when troubleshooting install problems. Add it to your bookmarks!


How To Use SQL Server Activity Monitor

Recently I was asked,

If you approached a SQL Server with abnormal usage (slow applications, etc,) and have a limited amount of time, how or what tools would you use to diagnose the issue?

I replied by saying I would execute a great script like sp_whoisactiveby Adam Machanic, or sp_BlitzFirst by Brent Ozar’s team.

He quickly replied,

Let’s assume the client in charge of the SQL Server doesn’t allow ANY external scripts to be deployed/executed on their servers.


I never really thought about a scenario where the client doesn’t allow third party scripts. I told him that I’d use “Activity Monitor.

What is Activity Monitor?

It is an instance-level tool built inside SQL Server Management Studio that allows you to get a quick “inside look” into key statistics like Processor Time, Waiting Tasks, Database I/O, Batch Requests/sec, Recent Expensive Queries, etc.

How To Use SQL Server Activity Monitor

There are 2 ways to bring up Activity Monitor in SSMS:

First way

Open SSMS, then press CTRL + ALT + A (this is the keyboard shortcut)

Second Way

Right-click the instance and click on Activity Monitor (see screenshot)

How to use SQL Server Activity Monitor

After you click “Activity Monitor” you will get the below screen (see screenshot. Click to enlarge). After a few seconds you will see live stats under the “Overview” window.

How to use SQL Server Activity Monitor 2

You will notice Activity Monitor has five “categories”, Overview, Processes, Resource Waits, Data File I/O and Recent Expensive Queries. Each category has a wealth of information that can help you easily determine why a certain SQL Server is under performing. Remember, you don’t always have the ability to use a thumb drive or access the internet to download a script. SQL Server’s Activity Monitor is a great first step into diagnosing a slow server.

How to Test Connection to SQL Server Using UDL File

This past week at work we had an application go down. The owner of that application rushed over to me and said the database server was down. I logged into the database server and verified that SQL Server service was up and running. To further allay his concern that the database server was blocking his application from making connections, I logged into the application server and quickly created a UDL file to verify the connection. Below is a step-by-step on how I did that so you can use it in case you run into a similar situation where you have to verify if a server can make a successful connection to a SQL Server database server.

How to Test Connection to SQL Server

First, create a blank text file using Notepad and save it as whatever name you want with a “.udl” extension. I used “DataConnectionTest.udl.” Now make sure to click on the drop down and choose “All Files” instead of “.txt” (see snapshot below)



After saving it as a “.udl” you will see this icon (see screenshot below):

Test Data Connection Icon

Double-click the icon and the main UDL window will open. Click on the Provider tab and choose “Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server.”

Test Data Connection Provider

Click Next, OR click on the “Connection” tab

Test Data Connection Connection

For “1. Select or enter a server name:” type out the sql server database server name. To save time, I would type out the server name instead of clicking the drop down option.

For “2. Enter information to log on to the server:” choose whichever option you need. In my example I chose Windows NT Integration security

At this point, you can click on the “Test Connection” button, or click the drop down under #3 and choose what database you want to connection to. Once you click on “Test Connection” you should see the “Test connection succeeded.” pop box.

Test Data Connection Test Connection

This is a very quick and easy way to verify connection to a SQL Server database without any special tools or software.