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Restoring a TDE Database Sans Certificate

Matthew McGiffen helps us recover from a big oopsie:

If you don’t have the backups of the certificate and private key from the old server, as well as the password used to encrypt the private key backup then you could be in a lot of trouble. There is one scenario where you have a way out. I’m going to assume you don’t have the possibility to recover your old server from a complete file system backup – if you do then you can do that and access all the keys you require. If the two following things are true though then you can still recover your database:

Read on to see what those requirements are and how you can, in specific circumstances, recover that database.