SQL Server Error 3013 – BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally

Summary: This blog will discuss version-specific occurrences of the SQL Server Error 3013, the reasons behind the error, and methods to fix it. If you cannot restore the database (DB) from backup, it usually means that the backup (.bak) file is damaged or corrupt. There is no manual method to restore the database from a corrupt .bak file. In that case, use Stellar Toolkit for MS SQL for backup recovery to recover the DB from the backup (.bak) file.

SQL Server Error 3013 – BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally

Sometimes, when performing an SQL Server database (DB) backup to a storage device or trying to restore the DB from backup, you may encounter the following error message:

Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

The frequency of this error may vary depending on the versions of SQL Server application you are using.

Version-Specific Occurrences of SQL Error 3013

  • SQL Server 7.0: In this SQL version, the error occurs when a clustered index is created in every filegroup of the table. The error message is as follows:
SQL Server 7.0 error message 3013
  • SQL Server 2000: If the database of volume less than 2 GB is already available and an attempt is made to back up another database having more than the existing volume, it results in 3013 error code. And, you will receive an error message similar to:
SQL Server 2000 error message 3013
  • SQL Server 2005: In this version, the error occurs when Backup Administrator tries to restore data files and log files together in a single instance of time. The error message appears as:
SQL Server error message 3013

What Causes SQL Server Error 3013?

Plausible reasons that result in SQL Server restore database is terminating abnormally error are as follows:

  • An attempt to view the Network drive has been made by an unauthorized user.
  • The storage device, on which the backup file (.bak) is stored, has failed.
  • A write failure has occurred during backup creation.
  • When there is not enough storage on the backup drive.
  • When an attempt is made to execute backup on transactional logs when Database is in SUSPECT mode.

Methods to Fix SQL Server Error 3013

NOTE: Since backup has terminated abruptly, avoid rewriting the same backup, as it may result in the same error again.

Depending on the version-specific occurrence of SQL Server Error 3013, follow these methods to fix the error:

NOTE: Methods 1, 2, and 3 may resolve the problem, provided the error has not occurred during backup restoration. But, if you have encountered backup failed error 3013 during the restoration process, skip to Method 4.

Method 1 – Check the Security Permission for User

Follow these steps to check if a user is denied permission to take DB backups in SQL Server:

Step 1: Browse the location of the backup folder to find the database ‘.bak’ file.

Step 2: Right-click the backup file, and select Properties.

Step 3: In the Properties window, click the Security Tab.

Step 4: Now check the Deny permissions for Authenticated Users.

Step 5: Click Edit and remove the denied permission.

Step 6: Click OK.

Method 2 – Delete the Previous Backup

Manually delete the previous backup and enable the SQL server to execute new backups to the backup device to fix the error. Use the following command for manual deletion of the last backup:

BACKUP DATABASE mydatabase TO DISK= ‘C:\Mydatabase.bak’ with format

Method 3 – Perform Full Backup Restoration

Sometimes, partial restoration is not the solution, try performing a full backup restoration technique. To perform a full backup, first, uninstall the backup application followed by re-installation. Check that the account under which SQL service binds is the member of Domain User Group and has been provided with ‘Write’ access to the Windows server.

Method 4 – Try Retrieving another Backup Set

If backup restoration is behind the error, try retrieving other backup sets within the backup device by specifying the file number. 

NOTE: The file number signifies the backup set series that needs to be restored.

Run the following command to retrieve the backup set from Query Analyzer:


Next, specify the particular backup set for retrieval by using the following command:

RESTORE DATABASE mydatabase FROM DISK=’C: \MyDatabase.bak WITH FILE = FileNumber

The above command may help you restore some backup sets from the damaged device, but there is a possibility that the backup restoration process is not complete. So, it is mandatory to verify the integrity of the restored database. 

You can identify the success or failure of backup operation or restore operation in the SQL Server error log, as well as, from the backup history tables in the MSDB system database.

What if You Cannot Restore SQL Server Database from Backup?

If you’re unable to restore your database from the .bak file, it is likely that the file has turned corrupt. And, you cannot restore from a corrupt .bak file. But, you can try to extract data from the file by using Stellar Toolkit for MS SQL  software. It is trusted by Microsoft MVPs and is a combination of 3 powerful tools that help repair corrupt SQL Server database, extracts database from corrupt .bak file, and reset SQL Server password.


When your backup system is hit with SQL Server Error 3013 before restoring the database, you can try any of these manual methods to fix the error:

  • Check for user security permission and change it.
  • Try deleting the old data from the backup device and enable SQL Server application to implement a new backup operation.
  • Try performing a full backup restoration.

If you get a 3013 error when restoring the DB, check for other backup sets available on the storage device and retrieve them. But, if you’re unable to restore the .bak file, chances are that the file is corrupt. If that’s the case, you can try extracting data from the .bak file by using the Stellar Toolkit for MS SQL software.

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