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Restore Backup files Windows 7 – Backup and Restore Files – Registry Settings

Backup and Restore Windows 7

Backup & Restore uses shadow copies which allows the copying of files while they are in use.

When using a hard drive as a backup location you should consider the following

  • For safety reasons do not backup data to a separate partition on the same drive for if the drive fails your backup will be most likely unrecoverable as a result. The same is true when you backup to VHD. You can make a system image backup to VHD bootable on Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise only.
  • Internal drives are usually faster than external drives although not so easy to move to another PC.
  • System image backups cannot be saved to removable media such as DVD-ROMs, CD-ROMs, Tape Drives or a USB flash drive
  • Tape drives are not supported as a backup medium in Windows 7 so restore backup from tape is not an option backup and restore

To backup to a network location your computer needs to be running at least Windows 7 Professional so you can provide your credentials. You cannot backup to a PC that has BitLocker enabled.

The 2 kinds of backups included in backup and restore are full system images backed up to a compacted .vhd disk image file or Files and Folders which get backed up as compressed .zip files.

The latter backup and restore data option does not allow the inclusion of EFS files, temp files, recycle bin or user profile settings.

The first time you run Backup and Restore a full backup is performed Windows automatically creates a folder with the computer name where it stores a full backup set with the date the backup was taken.

After that all following backups are incremental with the oldest backup getting automatically deleted once you run out of disk space.

When you perform a restore using the Backup and Restore tool the original file permissions are retained. Restoring manually from the zip file will make the file inherit the permissions of the parent restore folder.

You can perform a system image backup from the backup and restore tool in control panel but if you want to schedule a system image backup you will have to use the wbadmin.exe command line tool and create a batch flie that you would ad to task scheduler. Just as with a normal backup, consequent backups are incremental.

System Restore or Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) to Restore Backup Data

Windows 7 creates automatic restore points every week and every time applications or drivers get updated or any other significant system changes. If you want to backup and restore registry settings ten system restore is the “place to be.”When the disk space allocated to system protection is used up, the oldest previous versions are overwritten.

A system restore differs from a system image restore in the snense that it leaves all the user files intact. It is important to remember that a system restore started from Safe Mode or by using the System Recovery Options cannot be undone.

Your only option to retry a failed system restor would be to try a different restore point. System restore can be performed while running Windows or by choosing the Last Known Good Configuration when booting the PC.

System restore as a  data backup restore method is enabled by default for drives that contain the system files or operating system and can optionally be enabled for other srives provided they are using the NTFS file system.

Advanced Recovery Mode – Windows Backup and Restore Center

Be aware that the advanced recovery mode found in Control Panel -> Recovery -> Advanced Recovery Methods can result in loss of data as the original Windows install gets overwritten.

When your PC doesn’t boot any more you can press F8 to enable Boot Logging. The results will be saved to a file named Nbtlog.txt which will enablel you to view the driver which filed to load during start up.

In case of a disk failure due to hardware problems these methods will of course not work.

Boot Configuration Data (BCD)

Windows 7 includes the following boot loader features to support Backup Restore Data:

  • Windows boot manager (Bootmgr.exe)
  • Windows operating system loader (Winload.exe)
  • Windows resume loader (Winresume.exe)

BCD and the command line utility Bcedit allows administrators to manage and troubleshoot all phases of setup including resuming hibernation.

Restoring Files or Folders – Volume shadow Copy (VSS)

Shadow copies (available starting from Windows 7 Professional) are automatically enabled when system restore is active and are copies of files that have been modified since the last system restore point was created.

The shadow copy creates volumes that match the original volumes at the shadow copy point of time. As Windows 7 automatically creates restore points every week you can right click the file and choose the option “Restore Previous Versions.”

System Protection

  • Restore System Settings And Previous Versions Of Files – typically used to restore an OS Only
  • Restore Previous Versions Of Files – Used for drives that do not contain OS or system files

Windows backup file restore has been made very easy in Windows 7 providing you know what you are doing.

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