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Using the Backup and Restore Center (part 3) - Restoring Files from a Backup

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Restoring Files from a Backup

So far, you have focused on the process of performing backup operations on a computer. Of course, the primary purpose of creating backups is to enable restores. The process of restoring data is most easily started by clicking Restore Files in the Backup and Restore Center. Figure 10 shows the initial screen of the Restore Files process.

Figure 10. Starting the Restore Files process

Performing a Restore Operation

The first step is to determine whether you want to restore from the latest backup or from an older backup. Because Windows Vista automatically keeps track of backup operations on the local computer, there’s no need to provide additional information. If, however, you want to restore from an earlier backup, you can choose the date and time of that backup (see Figure 11).

Figure 11. Selecting an older backup from which to restore

After you choose the backup from which you want to restore, you’ll need to specify which data should be copied back to the computer. If you know specifically which files and folders you want to recover, you can choose to add them using the Add Files and Add Folders buttons. Another useful option is to use the Search button to find particular files or types of files. Regardless of the method you use, the Restore Wizard shows which files will be restored (see Figure 12).

Figure 12. Selecting files and folders to restore

The next step requires you to specify the destination for the restore operation (see Figure 13). In many cases, you will want to restore files over their original copies. For example, if you accidentally delete a Microsoft Word document, you probably want it to be restored to the same location.

Figure 13. Specifying the restore location

In other cases, however, you might want to choose an alternate location. This is useful when you want to compare the backup copy of the file with the current version, or if you want to reorganize the way in which the files are stored. The options allow you to specify or browse to the destination path location. You can also choose whether you want to create subfolders. Selecting this option re-creates the directory structure of the original files. Finally, if multiple hard disks were backed up, it can be helpful to create a separate top-level subfolder for each hard disk. The Example section provides information about how the resulting files will appear.

Click Start Restore to begin copying the files to the destination location. Figure 14 shows the progress display of the restore operation. When the operation is complete, click Finish. You can then use Windows Explorer to view the recovered data.

Figure 14. Viewing the progress of a restore operation



Using Advanced Restore

Although the standard restore process works well for most standard operations, there will be cases in which you need to perform different actions. For example, you might need to restore files from a backup that was stored on another computer. You can access this option by clicking Advanced Restore in the Backup and Restore Center. This launches the Backup Status and Configuration window. If necessary, click Restore Files (see Figure 15).

Figure 15. Using the Restore Files options in the Backup Status and Configuration utility

Clicking Advanced Restore enables you to choose a new option in the first step of the restore process: Files From A Backup Made On A Different Computer. When you click Next, you’ll have the option of manually specifying the location of the backup set from which you want to restore (see Figure 16). Options include choosing from a local storage location or specifying the path to a shared folder on the network.

Figure 16. Manually providing restore-related information

After you locate a valid backup set, the restore process identifies dates and times. You can then carry out the restore process as described in the previous section.

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