Answer by Fatherjack ·
Use RESTORE VERIFYONLY.
From Books OnLine:
Verifies the backup but does not restore it, and checks to see that the backup set is complete and the entire backup is readable. However, RESTORE VERIFYONLY does not attempt to verify the structure of the data contained in the backup volumes. In Microsoft SQL Server, RESTORE VERIFYONLY has been enhanced to do additional checking on the data to increase the probability of detecting errors. The goal is to be as close to an actual restore operation as practical.
Full details : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms188902.aspx
Answer by sp_lock ·
AS @Kev and @Fatherjack have stated you should use the RESTORE VERIFYONLY option.
In addition if you require to look at the data, Idera do a fantastic tool called Virtual Database which allows you to view the data without restoring the database.