Vista Restore - Can't access files on external hard drive

    General discussion

  • I have had to complete a clean install of Vista Home Premium. I have re-installed MS Office. I tried to restore the latest backup which is stored on my Freecom USB external hard drive through Sytem backup and restore centre but I get the Error message: The disk containing the backup is not accessible. Please make sure it is tuned on and connected to the computer. The drive is connected and I can see all the files via Explorer.

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009 11:22 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    After you do a clean install, the machine is a different one that what it was before from backup perspective.

    I see the same issue being reported and resolved here:


    When using the Restore Wizard don't choose the 'simple' Restore Files button.

    It can be confusing, since it says, "Restore your files from a backup made on this computer." but because you reinstalled the OS, technically it's no longer the 'same' computer.

    Choose 'Advanced restore", and then choose "Files from a backup made on a different computer."

    At the next step, point the program to the location of your backup and you should now be able to restore the files quick and easy.


    Can you try and let us know if this works for you too?

    Sriram [MSFT]

    Friday, May 08, 2009 4:21 AM
  • Hi,
    I had the same problem. My hardrive broke so I had to install a new drive and reinstall vista. Now I cannot restore my backed up files from my external hard drive. I get the error "windows was not able to load the selected backup set for the following reason: The system cannot find the file specified [0x80070002]. Please help as it looks at present like i will be losing all my files.
    Friday, May 08, 2009 9:54 AM
  • The error you are running into is different from what is reported earlier.

    Can you pl. provide the exact repro steps:
    1. Where did you take backup before reinstalling Vista?
    2. Which option you selected during restore after reinstalling Vista?
    3. How did you choose the disk containing backups during restore?

    Also can you send across the restore failure traces under %windir%\Logs\WindowsBackup\*.etl in a mail to (pl. remove the italicized phrase from the mail ID)?

    Sriram [MSFT]
    Monday, May 11, 2009 6:28 AM
  • Hi,

    I ahev a simlar problem, and have tried the advanced restore option to no avail- to explain-

    1. Due to evident corruption on the hard drive I eventually decided to reinstall vista home premium to my laptop.
    2. Using the windows backup I backed up all the files emails etc to my external hard drive
    3. Reinstalled vista with all the current updates inlcuding SP 2
    4. Ran restore either form the backup and restore centre or from restore in system tools
    5. Using the Restore files option- "There are no backups on this computer"
    6. Using the advanced restore option- have to choose the only option available- "files from a backup made on a different computer"
    7. Browse to my ext hard drive under "shared folder on a network"
    8. find appropriate folders "windows was not able to find any backup sets on 'drive/folder'
    9. I have even put the backup folder on my laptop in documents, with the same result
    10. The backup contains several subloders when it was created the tree is as follows-
                           [Folder name]
                  (1)             >"backup set- [date/number]"                                -contains the subfolders 2 and 4
                  (2)                  >"backup files- [date/number]"                          -contains the subfolder 3 and the zip files
                  (3)                           >"catalogs"                                             -contains wbcat and wbverify files
                  (4)                  >"catalogs"                                                      -contains global catalog wbcat file

    11. Whichever of these folders I point to, I get the same error message "windows was not able to find any backup sets on [drive/foldername]"

    I can open the folers and even the individual zips but there is some 100gb of data there and i will be here forever trying to find say just a few emails that i need!- Hoping you can help


    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:21 AM
  • Has anyone solved this problem?  I have the exact same problem.  Backup of laptop on a shared network drive, reloaded Vista Home Premium OS.  Depending on what file I specify with Advanced Restore I either get the error "There are no backups on this computer" or I get "The system cannot find the file specified [0x80070002]"  I've tried restoring files directly on the server and I've tried taking the disk drive out of my server and putting in a box and hooked it up directly to my laptop via USB and get the same errors, so I know it is a problem with the backup-set, not the network or the laptop. 

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Saturday, July 18, 2009 1:31 PM
  • Hi,

    Can you provide the exact steps that you've tried and when does the error occur? Sample steps can be in the following form:

    1. Open Backup and Restore Center
    2. Select "Advanced Restore"
    3. Select "files from a backup made on a different computer"
    4. Type in network location name \\device\location

    Christine Fok, Program Manager, Storage Solution Division This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Monday, July 20, 2009 6:20 PM
  • Sure thing.  I will give you multiple Scenarios where it fails

    First Scenario: Laptop with new load of Vista Home Premium, Network machine running Vista Home Premium with shared folder where back-up was performed from laptop before O/S required reloading.  Username/Password synced on both Vista machines.

    1) Open Backup and Restore Center
    2) Select "Advanced Restore"
    3) From Backup Status and Configuration screen select "Advanced restore"
    4) Select "files from a back made on a different computer"
    5) Select Shared folder on the network
    6) Select Browse
    7) Select \\NEWHOMEPC\BackUps\MaryDell\MARYXPSPC\MARYXPSPC\Backup Set 2008-09-25 214724
    8) Click Next

    Get the Error Windows was notable to find any backup sets on \\NEWHOMEPC\Backups\MaryDell\MARYXPSPC\MARYXPSPC\Backup Set 2008-09-25 214724\. Please select a different location.

    Second Scenario:  Same as first, but change selection as backup set location as \\NEWHOMEPC\BackUps\MaryDell\MARYXPSPC\

    Get the Error Windows was not able to load the selected backup set for the following reasons:

    The System cannot find the file specified.  (0x80070002)

    Verify that this location is valid and try again, or consider choosing a different backup set.

    Third Scenario:  Attempt to run back-up restore on the NEWHOMEPC server where the shared folder exists which contains the backup set.

    1) Open Backup and Restore Center
    2) Select "Advanced Restore"
    3) From Backup Status and Configuration screen select "Advanced restore"
    4) Select "files from a back made on a different computer"
    5) Select Hard disk, CD or DVD
    6) Select hard drive where shared folder exists (ServerD1 (D:))
    7) Next

    Get the Error Windows was notable to find any backup sets on \D:\. Please select a different location.


    If I attempt to run back-up restore on the NEWHOMEPC server where the shared folder exists and select the folder via the network, I get the same errors reported in Scenarios 1 and 2.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    I have log files if that will help.  For some reason  the contents of the log files don't appear in the Windows log viewer.



    Monday, July 20, 2009 10:57 PM
  • If it's any consolation... I've the set same problem...Wonder whether to bother backing up any more...
     Would be great to find solution tho
    Sunday, September 13, 2009 6:34 PM
  • I must say that I believe I have seen all of the error messages and have spent about 8 hours on the line with HP tech assistance to no avail.  I had two back ups made before I did a reinstallation.  The first did start to reinstall as an autoexec of the backup.  Then it started an installation and kept on trying to complete the installation for over 24 hours before I shut it down.  Now neither of the auto exec files will work from either of the backups. and I think I have seen all of the error messages listed trying to do a manual start of the restore.  

    The files all seem to be there but I can't get them to reload.  Is there a way to reset the system to accept the automatic restore function? 
    Wednesday, October 07, 2009 12:51 AM
  • Got traces offline from @GLM 409. Logs suggested a missing verification file in one of his backup zip files. Adding the verification file could have fixed the issue. Although he upgraded to win7 and was able to restore his files since we have this workaround in the product for Windows7.

    @AWK68, bilx, shadyfox, batesadam1973, dadsarmy:
    Can you guys attempt a restore and collect the logs from C:\windows\Logs\windowsbackup\*.etl, zip them and send to lokkum"at"microsoft"dot"com.(use @, '.'). Alternatively you can upload it onto sky drive and paste the link in the mail. 

    Steps for restore:
    1) Open Backup and Restore Center
    2) Select "Advanced Restore"
    3) From Backup Status and Configuration screen select "Advanced restore"
    4) Select "files from a back made on a different computer"
    5) Select Shared folder on the network
    6) Select Browse
    7) Select \\<servername>\<share>\<machine name folder>
    8) Click Next

    Lokesh [MSFT]

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 2:40 PM
  • Hello AWK68, bilx, shadyfox, batesadam1973 and dadsarmy,
    Were you guys able to attempt a restore and collect the logs?

    One small correction in step 7 above is to give \\<servername>\<share> (path before the machine name folder) for the network location.

    Let me know if you face any issues doing the above.

    Lokesh [MSFT]
    Tuesday, November 03, 2009 8:38 AM
  • It is over 6 months since this question was asked, I've moved on and certainly won't be using windows back-up again. How do i unsubscribe to this thread?


    Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:16 AM
  • Hello,

    I'm having a similar problem, but with Windows 7 -- I've just finished installing it, and I'm having trouble restoring a backup I made with Vista Ultimate, my previous OS.

    Here are the full details of my situation:

    1) I backed up my files (not the entire system) to a USB external hard drive.
    2) I deleted the partitions that contained my old OS, Vista. The copy of Windows 7 I purchased was an "upgrade" package, but I didn't realize that meant that even a "clean" install must be performed with an existing OS in place.
    3) I made a new, empty partition and attempted to install Windows 7 on it. The product key was invalid, because of the problem described above. Eventually I figured out that Windows 7 needed an existing OS.
    4) I reinstalled Vista Ultimate.
    5) I then attempted to install Windows 7 again, over the old OS. This time it was successful.
    6) With Windows 7 installed, I then connected my external hard drive. It was properly connected -- I could explore it, etc.
    7) I then attempted to restore the backup. In the Backup and Restore center, I clicked "Select another backup to restore files from." A dialog box opened, asking me to "Select the backup that you want to restore files from," but there were no locations listed. Some text said "If the backup location you want is not listed below, connect the drive with the backup to this computer, and then click Refresh." So, the external hard drive is connected properly, but for some reason Backup and Restore can't see it.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Wednesday, January 20, 2010 3:24 PM
  • I have the exact same issue - here it is a year later - did you ever receive a fix?
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:07 AM
  • Well, I don't know if this could help but I had this same issue. Vista recognize my HardDisk, but I couldn't see and drive on My Computer folder. What I did was: 1. Open Computer Management (thru Start - Search, type "management" and it pops out) 2. Go to Disk Management, and there you should see all your storage devices. 3. Select your external hd, right-click and select "Change Device Letter" (or something like that) Et voilà, assign it a letter and it should appear on your My Computer folder. Hope this helps. Marcelo.
    Sunday, April 04, 2010 8:42 AM
  • There are several different but related issues regarding Windows Vista and Win7 Backup and Restore. My issue is I performed a clean reinstallation of Vista on the same hardware configuration, one I built myself about 2 years ago. After performing all of the installation, installing my updates, and programs it was time to restore my personal files. I religiously backuped once a week for the life of the initial installation. So, to my dismay I discovered that while Backup and Restore could "see" my external hard disk and added it to the potential backup devices under Advanced restore for files backed up on a different system (the clean install creates the situation where the new install makes the origianl install a "different" system, the backup are listed under Date and Time but under Backup Location the message "Backup location is not available" is listed next to every entry. This stops the restoration cold. I've tried all sorts of "fixes" to get Backup and Restore to "see" my back ups to no avail.

    My "Fix" was to use the process of the Windows.old file to "restore" my personal files. Luckily I also had the thought of copying my files to another system on my network but that would have taken loger to "restore" than using the Windows.old file. Here is the link for anyone interested in a resolution for a restore which fails to "see" the backup file location even though it plainly can "see" the date and time it was written:

    Or for that matter nearly every other issue of the disk itself not being recognized especially if the files are needed ASAP!

    Sunday, August 01, 2010 1:49 AM
  • Seree1:  As near as I can tell, the "fix" that you propose is not applicable in the case of a hard drive replacement (or any other reason that a full System Restore has to be performed) since no "Windows.old" file is created.  Like the majority of the people here, I'm attempting to restore my files from backups made on an external hard drive after performing a System Restroration due to hard drive replacement.  Here's the actions I've attempted so far:

    After performing a System Restore due to a failed hard-drive, I have made several attempts to restore my files from a series of backups (the first of which is a full backup) on an external hard-drive (a 1 Terabyte Western Digital “My Book”).


    From “Control  Panel”, selected “backup your computer” under “System Maintenance”.


    From that screen, selected “Advanced restore”.


    From the popup, selected “Advanced restore”.


    From the next popup, the only option available is “Files from a backup made on a different computer”, which is what I would want to select, anyway.


    Click on “Next”.  Looking for backup devices” popup results & then there is a selection of drives to choose from.  The drive with my backups is on a Western Digital “My Book” on M:, so I select that & click “Next”.


    The popup that shows the backups on that drive comes up, & it shows the latest backup, but the Backup Location is shown as “not available”. 

    When I click on the box for “Show backups older than 30 days”, I get the same message for all 9 of the previous backups, including the initial Full Backup.


    Well, I attempt to proceed anyway by selecting the Full Backup & clicking “Next”.


    Here’s what I’ve attempted to do from this point:


    1.         I’ve clicked on “Restore everything in this backup” & “Next.  Then I click the button “In the original location” & then “Start restore”.  The restore process actually starts, but ends shortly with the Error Code 0x80070015.  Interestingly enough, it appears as though all of my original folders are in place in Windows Explorer, but they are all empty – not a single file in any of them!

    2.         I’ve attempted to select individual backups, starting with the initial Full Backup, all to no avail.  Now that all the Folders seem to be in place, I now get “Restore did not finish successfully.  Error code:  The backup file could not be found.  Check your hardware configuration or restore different backup (0x8100001A).

    3.         I’ve tried copying the backup files to a different external hard drive with the same results.

    4.         I’ve performed numerous System Restorations & have attempted installing the backups each time, both before & after installing all the appropriated Windows Updates (over 100 of them!).


    I am now in the process of copying all the Backup Files to my C: Drive to see if I have any success with restoration from that.


    If anyone has any further suggestions, I'm more than open to them!



    Saturday, August 07, 2010 4:52 PM
  • Wow.  I have searched a multitude of forums and sites with apparently the same problem and no answers yet.

    I backed up a Windows Vista64 laptop to a network hard drive (Apple TIme Capsule) using Vista Backup utility.  The backup process appeared to work fine without incident.  I am able to go the network drive from my Vista laptop and see the backup folder and zip files created from the backup.

    I recently wiped my entire HD and reinstalled the factory original software form Toshiba including Windows Vista.  Vista was loaded without any problems.  I updated Vista with all Windows updates though the Windows Vista update utility.

    I ran the Vista Backup and Restore system tools program and selected advanced restore with the option to restore from a network drive.  By selecting the "Browse" button I am able to view and select the network drive backup folder.  However, using "Browse" I am not able to see the individual .zip files in the backup folders.  When I select the latest dated backup folder, or the catalog folder, or the root backup folder (folder containing all the incremental backups), the restore utility says,

    "Windows was not able to find any backup sets on [network drive]."

    I have tried every level of the backup folders; I have copied all backup folders to the laptop internal HD; I have copied some of the back up folders to a DVD (total of all backup files is over 21GB).  The restore function has not worked with any of these and gives the same error message.

    I am not only suprised at this, but more suprised my how many similar problems I have read and still finding no answer.  Any help is appreciated.

    Sunday, August 15, 2010 3:42 PM
  • Found on this issue.... I'd check out the MediaId.bin file.


    Good luck! Roel.
    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 2:42 PM
  •'s just amazing....I started a new thread Vista BackUp restore impossible as not found ! HELP hoping I would get significant microsoft help.

    So far, not really positiv !

    Anyway, I have the same problem after an HDD crash and can't get my backup restored.

    By the way, I can see, using Knoppix (Linux based) all my files trough USB on my defect HDD.
    But, the new structure is not the same and for any reason, Outlook (as example) does not install itself the same way on my new system as on the old almost impossible to found out witch folder/file should go where.

    So, does have anyone an idea how I could create like an image in order to re-use the whole files/program (incl licence Nr, etc) structure on the new system also running Vista ???? 

    In any case, thx for any help ;)


    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:19 PM
  • This backup fiasco in Vista Home Premium at least is prevalent.  First resign yourself to days to fix this if you have a lot of files.  Second, there was no way to restore everything all at once. This worked for me found the hard way :


    Open Restore center with you external drive attached to the usb bus.

    Use Advanced Restore and don't even wast time with anything else.

    Click through the permission dialogue.

    Check or make sure that "...files from different computer is checked"

    Click - Next (it searches for what is attached a moment)

    At the "Where is the backup" you won't see your drive in the opening dropdown, but click the arrow and you should see your drive.

    Click - Next

    At the "Select Date..." window you will see your backups listed by time, etc, and it will say "..Not available",

    Click - ADD FOLDERS anyway. It will quickly search and suddenly you see all your folders. Don't get put off by this screen or fooled by it either.  It may have opened in (excuse my 'softease here) USERS\PC-NAME\DOCUMENTS directory.

    At this point, I first tried to restore the whole Documents folder to see if it worked. I clicked ADD

    Then clicked - Next,

    I chose the "Original Location" radio button, then,

    Clicked START RESTORE.  It went through it's thing far too quickly, and reported "Successfully Restored files". I closed out of Restore and Voila! - all my stuff was there, but was it really? No!  Just the whole Documents folder structure with nothing in them.  I was pissed, but not defeated.  I reopened Restore, followed the same process to  my backed up Documents folder/directory and realized that I could double click to get to the individual folders inside.  So now, continue, but stop at each folder (yes, each one at a time), and Restore that folder to "Original location" if that is where you want it.  When you click Start Restore this time - it actually restores the entire contents.

    Do this for all the folders you want to restore in that bid Documents file structure and check to see that the contents are loaded.  If you attempt, as I did to try to do many individual folders at once - they as well will load empty. Doesn't work.  I said days and I wasn't kidding, but you will get your stuff back. 


    If you have folders and stuff at the C:\ root level, you can double click the navigation windows to get to that or any thing else.


    If you need App Data stuff like profiles from Firefox or Thunderbird or something, make sure that you go to Control Panel first and use "Folder Options" to click "view hidden folders" and then return to the dogged Restore program.

    I agree this is a mess.  I got tired of searching the web with no answers.  Try this and I hope you will then find out how to get your stuff back.

    And Microsoft - what's your story folks!? How dare you have millions of people around the world thinking that their stuff is safe and backed up in an emergency and have this ____ piece of software work like this.  You knew it when you wrote it.  There is no excuse for this! Full disclosure right up front would save millions of human-hours and wasted electrical energy trying to clean up your garbage.



    Thursday, November 04, 2010 3:48 PM
  • Alright, well I have been digging into this all night.  I wanted to do a clean install of Vista Ultimate, and I went ahead with it.  I forgot all the work that it was to reinstall chipsets, and drivers, and something went wrong.  STarted getting errors on my two raid 0 velociraptors.  And everything was going well until bluescreens started happening.  SOon after windows would not even start up and had to do a system restore (to an hour ago) so that at least i could get windows to start up.

    This was terrible.  I just wanted to get rid of all the crap on my C: drive and do a clean install, and now my machine was jacked.

    II then remembered that i used a "Compete PC Backup" which was a full snapshot of my PC.  230 gb saved to an external esata drive.  


    When i tried to access it rebooting with the original OS system DVD, it would nor recognize the drive or the backup.  No Backup could be found.

    Well, i could see the backup files on the Esata drive so I knew it was there.

    To make a long story short, I transferred the backup files to another internal HD.   Not sure if I needed to do this, however the big problem was that my machine was not recognizing the backup because when i reinstalled the OS on my C drive, I have my PC an new name.  It did not match the name in the back up file.  I changed my computers name (right click "My Compute"r, and then click "Computer Name" tab, and click" change" under to rename this computer or join a domain.  CHange the name to the same name that you see under your backup files in the "WindowsImageBackup"  (which by the way was called something else, and i renamed it to "WindowsImageBackup", inside that folder was a folder with the" former name" of my computer and some other file and "catolog".  So...remember to rename your machine to whatever this " former name" is.   I stayed up all night trying to fix my machine, and I was thankful i did the Complete PC Backup.  I was happy to know that this worked! 

    Sunday, June 05, 2011 11:00 PM