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Windows 7: Windows restore doesn't show backup location

24 Sep 2011   #1

Window 7 Ultimate x64
Windows restore doesn't show backup location

Greetings all, I'm hoping someone among you will take pity on a poor soul who didn't do all the reading he should have and thus didn't use Macrium like he should have.

I used the built-in Windows tool to backup my C: drive to an external Hard disk. Now, after having reinstalled Windows I'd like to put that backup to work. But, whenever I tell it to "restore my files" it looks for a backup device and tells me there isn't one. I know it exists because I can see it, and I can access the backup (and the other files) as well. If I "open" instead of "restore" the backup, I can see all the files that are supposed to be there, so it doesn't appear any data is missing, it's simply a case of Windows not being able to see the files, and I don't see a way to point the program directly to it.

Thanks (in advance) for the help.

I'm using Windows 7, 64 bit, Ultimate edition (thank God for student discounts), 3 GHz Processor, 4 GB Ram, HD4850 if the hardware has anything to do with it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Sep 2011   #2

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Within Windows 7 "Backup & Restore" are two quite different backup types.
1) File/folder backup - generally your personal files and folders as the name suggests
2) System image backups - A complete snapshot of your partition. This include the OS, installed programs, all data - the works.

Which one are you having difficulty with?

Given you have just reinstalled Windows I suspect you just want your file/folders back.
If it is 1) then select "Select another backup to retrieve files from"
This should allow you to browse all backup sets on all attached drives, not just the default backup drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Check this Windows help screenie:

Windows restore doesn't show backup location-recovery.jpg

My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Sep 2011   #4

Window 7 Ultimate x64

You're correct, mjf, I just want my files and stuff back. The problem is that when I hit the "Select another backup" it pops up a window that scans for backups, and tells me it can't find any. Then, my only options are to "Browse network" and "Refresh" neither of which are of any use to me. (Note attached photo)

The backup is on an external Hard drive, plugged in via USB, and I can see the backup file on it, and access it fine, it's just the backup system can't see it. If I were to remove the HD from the external housing and plug it in via sata, might that help the situation?

Attached Thumbnails
Windows restore doesn't show backup location-stupid-backup-window.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2011   #5

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

This is what you might expect. Here is an example of one of my portable HDDs with 2 partitions containing backup sets for 2 computers.
Windows restore doesn't show backup location-ss25_9_11.jpg
So can you see these backup folders (eg. Jone-PC) with windows explorer?
You can do a file system check on the external and check that you can read and write to it. If yes then I wouldn't think it's a USB issue but you could try a direct sata connection.

I use Partition Wizard (see free program list) mini Tool's "Explore Partition" to safely poke around. Here you can go into your backup folder until you hit the zip files. This would show if your data is there.

You can pull data directly from the zips but I'd wait to see if someone else has a better idea.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2011   #6

Window 7 Ultimate x64

I ran the file system check on the external, and also just tried to swap a couple of documents back and forth, and everything checks out, there's no errors, everything reads/writes ok. And yes, I can see the backup files in windows explorer, I took a tour down through everything to the zips, and it's all there, it just won't come up in the bloody restore window.

I'll try the sata thing, I guess. My google-fu hasn't come up with any better solutions yet either.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2011   #7

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Being disaster averse I once went through the exercise of pulling files & folder structure out of the zips. I used 7-zip to a scratch partition. Once you use the correct extract option (forget what it was now) it all went quite easily.
I had lots of zips and just extracted each in turn.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #8

Window 7 Ultimate x64

Well, I think I got it. I pulled the drive out of the cage, and installed it via internal sata. This didn't help. Same problem. So, feeling annoyed, I was going to try and slide the backup over to my media center and see if it could get picked up over the network from there. But, lo and behold, when I allowed the network to "share" the new drive, the backup appeared in the restore window. It's currently running, so I can't check to make sure everything is perfect, but it appears as though it is going to work.

Edit: Great Success. Everything that should have come back, did.

-Allow sharing on secondary HD
-Browse to backup location via pretend 'network'
-Curse Microsoft for making it this ridiculous, and self for assuming a windows utility would do what it's supposed to.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows restore doesn't show backup location

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