SQL Server backup and restore to network drive

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Sometimes there is a need to backup or restore your database to another server because of a lack of available disk space on the current server.  In this situation you have no other choice but to either remove unneeded files, find additional local storage or backup/restore across the network to another server. When using Enterprise Manager you can only see the local drives, so how do you address the drives on the other server?


Although SQL Server does not support browsing drives on other servers you do have the ability to use UNC (Universal Naming Convention) notation to address another server on your network. With a UNC path you can specify any server and any share in your network as long as you have access to read and write to these shares.

So instead of using the GUI to browse through the available drives and selecting the directory where you want to write your backup file, you would specify the UNC path for the server such as the following:

Do the following to create a backup:

sql server backup

Click on Add...

select backup destination

Instead of using the ellipses (...) to browse the drives, type in the UNC path along with the file name and select OK.

sql server backup

At this point select OK to start the backup.

In this example the backup file for the Northwind database will be placed on the "F$" share of server "server25".  For each logical drive that exists on a server there is a corresponding $ share for each drive.  So for example if you had a C, D and E drive you could access these shares as C$, D$ and/or E$.  In order to access the administrator shares you need to have administrator access on the corresponding server or grant specific access to use these default shares.

In addition, you can create shares on your server such as SQLBACKUPS which could correspond to a directory such as "F:\SQLServer\Backup".  This would enable you to specify the backup for this folder as:


To do a restore the same process should be followed:

restore database

Click on Select Devices...

choose restore devices

Click on Add...

choose restore destination

Type in the UNC path along with the backup file name and click OK.

choose restore devices

Click OK and OK on the next screen to start the restore.

As you can see there is not much too it, but having this ability makes life a lot easier especially in cases where you don't have enough disk space on the local server.

Next Steps
  • All of these items of above can also be done using T-SQL commands.  Investigate the BACKUP and RESTORE command and how you can also use UNC paths for both backups and restores.
  • Take a look at other backup and restore tips on MSSQLTips.com

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Greg Robidoux Greg Robidoux is the President and founder of Edgewood Solutions, a technology services company delivering services and solutions for Microsoft SQL Server. He is also one of the co-founders of MSSQLTips.com. Greg has been working with SQL Server since 1999, has authored numerous database-related articles, and delivered several presentations related to SQL Server. Before SQL Server, he worked on many data platforms such as DB2, Oracle, Sybase, and Informix.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 6:57:39 AM - Raed Back To Top (38537)

hi ..


i would like to say ( THANK YOU)


this tip was helpfull .. 

and i learn many things from this web sites .. without doubt .. this is the best website in SQL Server ..

best regards ,


Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 6:25:02 PM - Tanya Back To Top (36598)

Thank you Greg It worked!! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 5:35:20 PM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (36597)

Hi Tanya,

take a look at this tip to see if this does what you need: 



Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:38:31 PM - Tanya Back To Top (36595)

Jithen did you find any solution?


I have the same issue like jithen.


I would like to backup on a network shared drive which has user ID and Password. how do i give the destination ?


Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 6:38:37 AM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (36159)

Hi Sree,

you can use SQLCMD to do this and run BACKUP commands from SQLCMD.  You should be able to run the script from the A server, but the A server will  need to be able to see the B server. Also, since they are in different domains it will be easier to use Standard SQL logins instead of Windows logins.

Take a look a this tip for SQLCMD:


Also, do some searches for more info on SQLCMD.


Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 3:29:33 AM - sree Back To Top (36158)

I had two servers(SQL 2005) A and B. B is Production server and A is DR. I want to take backups for B server databases from A server. We can not create any maintenance plans or jobs in B production server. We can create any jobs in DR server to take backups for Prod server. Is it possible? both are in different domain. If the servers are in same domain is it possible? and please send the procedure.
Please help me asap.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 6:00:24 AM - jithen Back To Top (19265)

i need to backup a database to VM server where i need to give username and password for the path where i want keep the backup. How can i do this directly from Management Studio? Where should i give username and passwod? Please help me

Friday, July 20, 2012 - 6:47:35 AM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (18687)

I Len - can you check the SQL Server services to see what account is being used for your services.   You may need to use a domain account for the SQL Server servcies instead of the LOCAL SYSTEM account.

Try that to see if this helps.  Also, make sure you do this for the SQL Agent account, because this is the account that is used to run the scheduled tasks.


Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 11:08:45 PM - I Len Back To Top (18678)

When I practice on SQL 2005 follow your guide, type in the UNC path in destination driver, Windows show message error:

System.Data.SqlClient.SqlError: Cannot open backup device \\fsgserver\d$\autobackup\test-database.bak'. Operating system error 5(Access is denied)

I have share full permission for 'everyone' group on folder 'autobackup' but can't connect to those folder. Please help me how can verify and connect to folder backup on other server?

Could I contact with you and discuss more detail this problem?. My email is [email protected]

I'm sorry for any inconvenience from this message.

Best Regards

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