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Option ‘format’ conflicts with option(s) ‘noinit’

  • Dec 19 / 2011
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Backup and Restore, dbDigger

Option ‘format’ conflicts with option(s) ‘noinit’

While using the options Format and NOINIT in WITH clause of backup statement, following error statement is generated

Msg 3031, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Option ‘format’ conflicts with option(s) ‘noinit’. Remove the conflicting option and reissue the statement.

Simple solution is to use
Init with Format, Init with Noformat or NoInit with Noformat.
NoInit with format can not be used.

But using this simple solution is not enough unless you have proper understanding of these options used in WITH clause.
First of all it should be noted that these (NoInit, NoFormat) options are not mandatory. If you do not provide these then default are NOFORMAT and NOINIT.
Now let us have a look that what does these options mean and what is effect of using these instead of default values.


INIT / NOINIT is relates to relation among existing backups and current backup on a backup device. The term backup device here refers to backup path + backup file name. Using NOINIT with an already present backup device would append the current backup to existing backups there. In that case there would be multiple backups in a single device and size of backup device would be cumulative size of all backups. During restore process or while using RESTORE HEADERONLY would show separate backups existing in a single backup device. On other hand using INIT option would overwrite all existing backups and only last backup would be stored.


FORMAT / NOFORMAT resembles the INIT / NOINIT in functionality except that it also deletes the device header. While using disk for backup media FORMAT does not affect more than INIT but on tape drives it may affect the file system on tape.


Now we may understand that what was the reason of our error statement. NOINIT could not be used along with FORMAT because FORMAT would try to format the backup device along with device header while NOINIT would try to append the backup in the device.

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