none
This is how to extract files from a Windows 7 full image backup!

    General discussion

  • After lots of research on the Internet, I couldn’t find a straight-forward method of extracting files from a Windows 7 image backup (this is the full backup, not the file and folder backup). I finally got it working without any additional programs! Here are my instructions. Hopefully they can come in handy for when you don’t have any files in Previous Versions, or you don’t have another backup of the file you lost but you have it in the image backup.

    This procedure may not work with Vista as Windows 7 supports VHD disk mounting through Diskpart. I don’t think Vista does.

    1. You must be logged in as an administrator (such as the first account made on the computer when you installed Windows 7)
    2. Go to the Start menu > Computer, and go into the drive where you made the image backup
    3. Right-click the WindowsImageBackup folder and go to Properties
    4. Go to the Security tab > Advanced > Owner tab > Edit...
    5. Select your username, and check Replace owner on subcontainers and objects
    6. "OK" everything and close all windows
    7. Go back to the drive where you made the image backup, right-click the WindowsImageBackup folder and go to Properties > Security tab > Advanced
    8. In the Permissions tab click Change Permissions...
    9. Select your username, click Edit...
    10. Tick all the Allow boxes then OK
    11. Tick both bottom boxes then OK
    12. "OK" everything, close all windows
    13. UPDATE: And with credit to Proton2's reply below, we need to mount the backup image as a drive. To do this, open the Start  menu, right-click on Computer and select Manage
    14. In the left pane, under Storage, select Disk Management
    15. Go to the Action menu, then Attach VHD
    16. Click Browse..., go into the drive where you made the image backup. Go into to the WindowsImageBackup folder, then the [NAME OF PC] folder, then the Backup [DATE] folder. There should some .VHD files in there. Select the one with the largest file size and click Open, then OK.
    17. It will now have mounted in Computer as a hard drive. You can browse through it and retrieve your files!
    18. When finished, we need to dismount the VHD drive. Go back into Disk Management as before, find the drive from charts on the bottom pane (such as Disk 3), right click on where it says the disk name (such as Disk 3) and select Detach, then OK.
    19. All done. Make a new backup from scratch (delete the old one) if you like since we messed up its permissions.
    • Edited by nLinked Saturday, March 21, 2009 4:20 PM
    Saturday, March 21, 2009 2:35 AM

All replies

  • That is great.  Good work!
    Saturday, March 21, 2009 5:49 AM
  • Doesn't the following work...

    Click start button, right click computer, select manage.

    Righht click disk manager, select attach vhd.
    Find the vhd file and attach it. when done detach it.
    Saturday, March 21, 2009 11:03 AM
  • Proton2 said:

    Doesn't the following work...

    Click start button, right click computer, select manage.

    Righht click disk manager, select attach vhd.
    Find the vhd file and attach it. when done detach it.


    Just a tiny change:

    Left click Disk Management first, then right click it to get the context menu with the appropriate commands.

    Thack
    Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:00 PM
  • Wow, I didn't even know you could do it that way. I've just tried it and it worked, but, it worked because I had already (as in my instructions) changed the image's permissions and owner settings to my account. I have a feeling that if I make a brand new image backup with its native permissions, this might not work (I guess I'm expecting some sort of access denied error). But I'll just make a new backup image now and give it a try again with your method. If it works it's going to save a lot of time!

    Edit: Yes, I tried it with a new image with its default permission settings and could not enter the mounted drive. It said E:\ is not accessible. Access is denied. But after the permissions and ownership are done (from my instructions), your method for mounting is much easier. I'll update the instructions...
    Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:53 PM
  • Thack said:

    Proton2 said:

    Doesn't the following work...

    Click start button, right click computer, select manage.

    Righht click disk manager, select attach vhd.
    Find the vhd file and attach it. when done detach it.


    Just a tiny change:

    Left click Disk Management first, then right click it to get the context menu with the appropriate commands.

    Thack



    Oops, I guess I was using my right hand and got confused. I should just say "bring up the context menu" instead.
    Sunday, March 22, 2009 2:05 AM
  • egads said:



    nLinked said:


    After lots of research on the Internet, I couldn’t find a straight-forward method of extracting files from a Windows 7 image backup



     
    Ok, very nice.  But doesn't this beg a certain little issue, like how come...?



    Maybe because Windows 7 is still Beta?
    Sunday, March 22, 2009 5:09 AM
  • I
    egads said:

     
    LOL.  Proton2, if I am good at posting an ambiguous question, you are a master at anwering it!


    nLinked said:


    I couldn’t find a straight-forward method of extracting files from a Windows 7 image backup



    Will there be a simple way for general end-users to mount this backup image in Win7 RTM ?



    Mounting functionality would be good (same with ISO's). I keep thinking why don't MS just make it browse-able? It basically looks like a normal hard drive when you manually mount it so it should be possible just to make full backup's browse-able like you can with regular file/folder backup.
    Sunday, March 22, 2009 5:12 PM
  • nlinked,
    I tried this and It seems to work very well but how do you transfer them from the files of the drive you created to your new drive once this is done ?Is it a simple extracction from attached drive ? That's the only part I am stuck at?  Any help is appreciated.
    Alvin 
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:44 AM
  • That's right. If you were able to get through all the permissions steps, you can now simply browse the files in the backup through the various folders and extract the files you need by copying and pasting them to a destination of your choice.
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:53 AM
  • nlinked ,
     thanks for the reply . Do I need an extraction tool once I get the VHD on my computer? becuase the file is 11.3 GB's for the back up and isn't broken down enough and  the main file is this big one . I kinda like this because it's really conveient if I can get the transfers done .
    thanks
    Alvin
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:28 PM
  • Sorry, Alvin, I'm still a little unclear. The overall idea is to be able to mount the VHD in Disk Management in Windows 7 (won't mount in Vista by the way). After it's mounted it will appear in Computer. Then assuming you've done the permission settings from the original instructions, you should just be able to browse the files in the mounted VHD. They will look all your normal data files that were backed up and you can pick and paste whichever you need.
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:49 PM
  • Hi nlinked ,
      Thanks for the email, I guess what I am saying is how do you extract them to the C-drive or is the back up readable by the C drive as a virtual drive . I backed up all my program files before a clean reinstall but it wouldn't transfer the files from the external drive I backed on to the new OS . I was hoping that the extraction of the large back up would be less complicated . But I know I am missing something here . I followed the instructions yesterday and the drive showed up on the computer . Now my problem is the computer going to read the file as part of the C:drive or leave as an F: drive it created on the computer. I really can't find any information  on the VHD once it is formed on the extrenal drive . Does this help?? Can you merge the two drives where all your program files will be back in the same locations, or is this done by the virtual drive?
    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP,
    Alvin
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:10 PM
  • If you created a Windows 7 image backup, you wouldn't need to do the clean install. You need to boot with the Windows 7 disc and choose to restore the image backup. It will restore the entire image (OS, programs and data) in one go. Sorry if I'm still misunderstanding your question. I don't think you can merge them though, it would have to be a manual operation of extracting your most important data out of the mounted VHD drive.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:34 PM
  • Thanks nlinked ,
    That  basicly answers my question , so if I do a clean reinstall were I formatted the drive I can export this via my external and then manually install each of the program files so I won't have to reload everything I need from the sites . So, stop me if I am wrong, but for when I back up I need to make the disc when it ask.  How will this work when installing a new OS that only comes in VHD.
    Thanks
    Alvin

    P.S.
    I know this is a pain but I amtrying to put my brain around this.
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:23 PM
  • No problem. You could try to export the program files but they may or may not work as some programs need thier data from the Windows Registry, which you can't really export from the backup. Programs are best reinstalled from scratch.

    This method of extraction is good for extracting specific data (like your documents, music, etc) as they don't need installation.

    The image created by Windows 7's System Image backup is not a VHD. But rather, if you were to use my instructions, it would mount it as a VHD so it can be browsed.

    Now if you're installing a new OS, it's better to use the files and folders backup instead of this system image backup. Windows 7 has both backup options. Neither option will allow you to bring your programs back into a new OS though - chances are those programs won't work fully.

    So basically:
    Windows 7 system image backup is good when you want to restore the entire computer as it was before.
    The instructions at the top of this thread are good if you made the system image backup and only want to extract your documents from it.
    And Windows files and folder backup method is good if you want to backup your documents only.

    I think we're getting closer to answering your specific question. Do please ask so I can clarify better - I don't mind :)

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:44 PM
  • Thanks nlinked,
    The below answer look's like answered what I am asking. So if Microsoft which it won't ever releases an OS in VHD , you would have to have an extraction tool to either remove the sysem from the new drive attached to export to the new C: drive or back the virtual drive up and make a WindowsImageBackup from it . Both thoughts sound very entertaining. Does Microsoft have such tool ? From what I read so far and I didn't get in the details this may be in one or more SQL packages . I briefly read that you needed a program in SQL 2005 to convert  VHD files because of the size of them and VHD was created to move large batches of files  ,Am I wrong about  of them. I think I read and  please feel free to correct me was VHD was created to move 10 to 30 Gb's of files which is the size you get once you have installed most all your program files . But however if you do a complete Image Back Up and then make the disc is the way to go If you have to do a clean restore becuase it will back up everything but the OS. I did this yesterday while we emailing and posting to see what I got and it backed up all my files but the OS which came out to 11.3 GB's and once adding the OS which I checked in the C: drive properties before installing all my programs added up to the C: drive once programs were Installed. I had 14.8 after the install and then 27 GB's after the programs were installed.
    Thanks
    Alvin Clemons


    >>>>> Windows 7 system image backup is good when you want to restore the entire computer as it was before.
    The instructions at the top of this thread are good if you made the syrstem image backup and only want to extract your documents from it.
    And Windows files and folder backup method is good if you want to backup your documents only.
    I think we're getting closer to answering your specific question. Do please ask so I can clarify better - I don't mind :)<<<<<<<<<<





    Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:25 AM
  • Hi, this answer worked perfectly for me (Proton2). All I wanted to do was restore a single folder from a .VHD file that had been created during a windowsimagebackup.

     

    It really is as simple as going to Disk Manager and going to Options and selecting the option to attach a VHD file.

     

    Once that is done Disk Manager assigns your new virtual disk a drive letter and then you can browse it like a normal disk and copy your lost file back to where it should be.

     

    Thank God for the host of backup tools Windows 7 has because its file manager is very flaky and files mysteriously disappear very easily! 

    Monday, January 10, 2011 7:20 PM
  • thank you so much! it worked for me, i am so relieved :)
    Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:28 AM
  • Thanks! Your instructions worked great -- I had to manually add my name to the permissions tab since it was not showing up (step 8-12), but otherwise flawlessly exactly as you described.  Thanks!

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 10:56 PM
  • Can't thank you enough!

    My external drive was in a flood (Sandy); I shipped it back to a company and they restored my backup image. I then had no machine to clone it on, and only needed my media files, a lifetime collection of family pictures and videos, followed your instructions and voila, I now have a mounted drive with all my media!

    Thank you again!

    Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:49 PM