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Vadim Rapp
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Restore only meaningful part of the database - possible?

We have a database on SQL Server 2012 (soon to be upgraded to 2019), 52GB. Every now and then I have to restore the past state of it to the "sandbox" database for various research, to find out what was the data at that moment several days ago, or to try something, and so on. It takes 10-15 minutes. I know that only a relatively small fraction of the tables are "of interest", i.e. hold the data that actually matters for the task at hand. So I'm wondering, is there a way to restore only that "meaningful" part of the database, and thus to do it much faster?
Microsoft SQL Server

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8/22/2022 - Mon
Kyle Abrahams

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Jim Horn

SQL Server database restores are an all or nothing deal-i-o.

Adding on to Kyle's excellent workarounds above, by definition SQL Server does not know what's meaningful and what's not, so I'd start flushing out requirements exactly what 'relatively small fraction of the tables are "of interest" ' means, and design a solution that accommodates these needs.  Make people define it and go from there. 
Vadim Rapp

>Is it possible to keep the "sandbox" in sync?

No, the goal is always to restore it to the certain point in time in the past, to see what was the data back then.
Vadim Rapp

>SQL Server does not know what's meaningful and what's not,
But I do. What if I place "important" tables in one filegroup, and then restore only that filegroup? is it possible?
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William Peck
Kyle Abrahams

You can move different tables into different file groups.  Note that you would have to recreate any clustered indexes.

Pretty indepth guide here on moving the tables

and on backing up the file groups here:
Vadim Rapp

So if I do, can I then restore only one file group and work on this database?

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