Import Data Pump ORA-39142: incompatible version number

I must admit that I’ve rarely done database export from a higher version and import into a lower one. Most of the time it will be either same version (between production, UAT, test or development), or to a higher one in the upgrade scenario.

I got an import error ORA-39142: incompatible version number when attempting to import the 11.2 export data dump file into a database.

Connected to: Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release – 64bit Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP, Data Mining and Real Application Testing options
ORA-39001: invalid argument value
ORA-39000: bad dump file specification
ORA-39142: incompatible version number 3.1 in dump file /project/exp/t.dmp

Fortunately, it is well-mentioned in many web sites including the OTN forum. The export data pump has the VERSION option allowing to create a dump file which is compatible with a previous release.

Here is the syntax and description of VERSION from Oracle’s document.

VERSION={COMPATIBLE | LATEST | version_string}

The legal values for the VERSION parameter are as follows:

  • COMPATIBLE – This is the default value. The version of the metadata corresponds to the database compatibility level. Database compatibility must be set to 9.2 or higher.
  • LATEST – The version of the metadata corresponds to the database release.
  • version_string – A specific database release (for example, 11.2.0). In Oracle Database 11g, this value cannot be lower than 9.2.

It is interesting that the Oracle’s document  states that the VERSION can be set as low as 9.2 since the data pump only works with Oracle 10.1 or above. This is probably for backward compatibility.

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