Before you start
Objectives: Learn how to configure and use Backup and Restore tool in Windows 7
Prerequisites: you have to know about backup options in Windows.
Key terms: backup, configuration, Windows 7, system image
Backup and Restore Console
To open Backup and Restore console we can go to Control Panel, choose the “Small icons” view, and then click on the Backup and Restore option.
Backup and Restore Console
The first time we use the Backup and Restore tool we can choose the “Set up backup” option. Have in mind that we cannot have more than one backup job on a system at a time. When we click on the “Set up backup” link, we will first have to choose the backup location.
In our case we will choose E: drive as our destination and click Next. On the next screen we choose if we want to let Windows to choose what to back, or we can choose ourselves. In our case we will choose the “Let me choose” option.
What to back up
On the next screen we choose what to back up. Note that we can choose to include a system image of our drives. This is also the case when we let Windows decide what to backup.
When we include a system image of drives, our entire system is backed up to a VHD file, so we can use it for recovery. If our system stops working, and we have a system image of it, we can easily restore it back to the point where we made the system image backup. Note that we can choose to backup users libraries and we can choose to backup specific files and folders. In our case we have selected Kim Verson’s and Students libraries, and we have selected C:\Docs folder.
On the next we can see a summary of what we are backing up.
Note that we can also change the schedule of the backup. By default, once we create one backup, it will automatically backup every Sunday at 7 PM. If we click on the Change Schedule, we will see this screen.
Note that we can also disable the schedule. We can also choose to run the backup daily, weekly, or monthly. We will leave default options here.
We are also being warned that we might need a system repair disc if we want to restore a system image file. We can boot from the Windows PE utility CD or we can boot from the Windows 7 media as well. We can now click on the “Save settings and run backup” option.
Backup in Progress
During the backup, first shadow copies are created for our files. That way, in case we have any open files, they can be backed up as well.
Note that on the Backup and Restore console, we have an option to create a system image directly.
System Image Option
This way we don’t have to create a full backup together with the system image. We can only create a system image. We can choose to save the image to a hard disk, have it burned directly to a CD or DVD, and save it to a network location.
Note that we also have an option to create a system repair disc. For that we need to have a blank burnable media like a CD or DVD. We actually don’t have to create a system repair disk if we have a Windows PE or Windows 7 bootable DVD.
Once the backup is complete, we can click on the “Manage space” option, which will show us how much space our backups are taking up.
We can also view our backups to see all the previous backups we’ve made by clicking on the “View backups” button.
We can even select the backup and delete it from here. For system images we can select how Windows retains older system images by clicking on the “Change settings” button.
Older System Images
We can let Windows to manage space or we can choose to keep only the latest system image, to minimize space usage.
We can always change settings for our backup by clicking the “Change settings” option. Keep in mind that we can only have one backup configuration. We can’t have multiple different scheduled backups.
If we open our backup location, we will see two items.
The first item is a backup file, and the second is a WindowsImageBackup folder. We can actually open that WindowsImageBackup folder. In it we will see the folder for our specific machine. In that folder we will see this.
Image Backup Folder
The first item is a Backup Set folder (Backup 2015-04-29 073131). Within the backup set folder we will see two VHD files.
Backup Set Folder
One VHD file is smaller and contains sysetm and BitLocker settings. The second VHD file is larger and contains the actual system image. We can actually mount that VHD file. To do that we can go to Disk Management, and select the “Attach VHD” option.
Attach VHD Option
We specify the location of the VHD file and click OK.
The VHD file will get a drive letter and the autoplay will start up. In our case it got the letter F:, and if we open it, we see that it has the same content as our C: drive.
We can actually now copy files to our F: drive, and those files will remain there as well. Let’s now take a look at our WIN-7-VM1 backup file. Windows 7 saves everything in a sort of compressed file. If we right-click it, we will see the Restore option.
We can also select the Open option. This will actually show the contents of the backup file.
Backup File Contents
We can browse inside the backup and go to backup files, open up the files one by one. So, this is actually a file-based backup, which makes restoring much easier. We can simply search for the file we want, and then restore it.