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Windows 7: Win 7 backup program has deleted files

01 Apr 2014   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
Win 7 backup program has deleted files

When I performed a routine backup from my hard drive to an external drive which had existing files on it, I found that the backup had deleted all the individual files on that external drive. The folders are still there but there are no files in them.
So now I have lost years of data.
Does anyone know what I can do?
I know how to restore regular deleted files but the properties view of the folders say there are no previous versions.
Is there anyway to undo the whole backup?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #2

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

Hello and welcome pinnate. First always good idea to load system specs for us as it makes life so much easier tracking down problems and we shall probably need yours anyway if the problem is going to be difficult.
So - System Info - See Your System Specs
Mate two things you can try one is to use one of the data recovery software's and one that comes to mind is Recuva < download from piriform or another little fix I worked out some time ago which works for me at least and there is a tutorial in here using a bootable stick to the same end but I have not tried that yet my little ditty works fine for me anyway


Make a bootable Ubuntu disk

Set the BIOS to boot from the optical when the machine boots it will show you a screen with TRY or INSTALL > select TRY

When it is finished - it takes very little time you will get a screen like in the pic .

Open the drive you want > User and dig down until you get to the data / settings you may be able to copy / paste the material you want to an external source or other installed drive doing this.

I am not sure if it will but I have recovered tons of data etc using this method both on "dead" or just plain drives that you cannot get data from using Windows.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pinnate View Post
When I performed a routine backup from my hard drive to an external drive which had existing files on it, I found that the backup had deleted all the individual files on that external drive. The folders are still there but there are no files in them.
So now I have lost years of data.
I'm confused. Please clarify.

WHAT backup software program/product did you run which did that "routine backup"? By "routine", that must mean you've been running it regularly and periodically for a while now. So this is the first time you noticed any anomaly at all??

Is this a pure COPY (of all folders/files from source to target), where you end up with a true uncompressed duplicate of the source folders/files on the target drive?

Or is this a BACKUP of some type (e.g. using ZIP or other proprietary compression method) so that you end up with a single "backup dataset" on the external drive which you then need to use the same program in RESTORE mode to selectively recover individual folders/files within the "backup dataset"?

You say that the backup "deleted all the individual files on that external drive"? The folders are now there, but there are no individual files in them. Again, are you using a true COPY as your "routine backup" method, so that the target backup is supposedly an uncompressed exact duplicate of the source? Or are you running a software product that does your "routine backup" probably involving some compression to a single target backup dataset, and from which you must then use the same software product to RESTORE/RECOVER selected folders/files from??

How/why did you first notice that the files on the external drive had "disappeared"? Did you go there to try and use them to restore from, and noticed they were not present although the folder structure was present?? Seems impossible, but that's how I read your description. Are you looking inside a backup dataset using backup software, and seeing that there are no files? I'm confused.

No matter what happened on the output target of the backup, why should anything have been touched or lost on the original INPUT source??? So are you saying that the backup job deleted files from the source as well as deleting files from the target, now making it impossible to recover this data at all? Why can't you just use your original source files, no matter what happened on the target output of whatever type of backup job you "routinely run"?

Please provide a reasonable simple but precise description of what this "routine backup" job consists of. What software program are you using? What is the method of backup... COPY, or BACKUP (of some type)? Any compression involved?

And why should your source data going into any type of COPY/BACKUP get lost, no matter what the output does or does not look like? How could you have lost ALL of your data (both input and output) when you are describing a problem with your output??
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Apr 2014   #4

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

DS I am guessing the OP did a Windows back up and not some sort of imaging which I do via the Macrium tutorial. I think we shall have to wait until a reply comes back before we can decide on what to do next.

In any case unless the original drive has been wiped a few times then the data should still be there. I am wondering about the status of the back up drive personally as it could have been a dud when those back ups were done. another possibility is some form of malware on that drive or machine that is wrecking it any backing up.

Like I said mate we will need to hear back from the OP:)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #5

Windows 7

You can try EasyRecovery or FinalData
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2014   #6

Windows 7 64 bit

Hi, thanks everyone for responding.
I don't really know how to clarify this but:
Windows 7 Control Panel has a 'back up your computer option'. For years I have this as a scheduled routine to back up the system to my external drive. It's a standard part of windows 7 and the back up runs automatically;sometimes I might do a manual back up but they both use regular Windows 7 back up program.
In addition, I also use the external drive to copy and paste files from my hard drive that I want to archive or are seriously important so I want to ensure there are two copies. These are regular .doc/docx, xls, jpg etc files and they are listed within various folders -just as per "My docs."
When I last backed up, I discovered that something has gone wrong. All the individual files within the folders have been deleted. There is no system back up. The only MS files are an old (2011) MediaID.bin and an autorun (from 2008) which are 1kb in size.
I understand that there can be problems with MS 'back-up' but I can find any info on what to do about it under the MS troubleshooting web pages. I'd be grateful if you can help. The external drive doesn't just have back up of current files and system but old archived but important data files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2014   #7

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

pinnate mate try this it is so much better than the Windows feature
Imaging with free Macrium
I set mine to back up weekly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2014   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit


If you don't understand what's going on with Windows Backup, I'd say you should find something more easily understood. It's not very well explained or laid out.

I'd second the recommendation for Macrium to back up Windows. I'd use something else to back up personal data (jpgs, docs, etc). There are a bunch of decent free choices that are more convenient and quicker than your current copy and paste method.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Win 7 backup program has deleted files

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