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How to: Restore a Database Master Key

New: 17 July 2006

This topic describes how to restore a database master key from backups.

  1. In SQL Server Management Studio, connect to the database to which you wish to restore the database master key.

  2. Copy the backed-up key to a local NTFS directory. The directory should be protected with highly restrictive ACLs.

  3. In Query Editor, execute the following Transact-SQL command: RESTORE MASTER KEY FROM FILE = '<complete path and filename>' DECRYPTION BY PASSWORD = '<password1>' ENCRYPTION BY PASSWORD = '<password2>' ; GO

    Where password1 is the password that was used to encrypt the key on the backup medium, and password2 is the password with which to encrypt a copy of the key in the database.

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