Windows Backup: Restoring Lost Data

Continuing with the theme from my post last Thursday, today I will show you how to retrieve a file from the Windows Backup I created.  If you ever need to retrieve a file from your own back up, you should follow along and do this yourself.  Practicing this, will help put you  at ease in the event you need to restore any files.

Lost Data

To illustrate how to use Windows Backup to restore a file, I have create a new file.  It is named ‘MyImportantDocument’ and is an ODT(text) file.  Inside this file is very important data that I need to keep safe!

Example text document with very important data.
Ok, so there is no real important data here, but imagine that this document contains financial information or contact information that you haven’t saved elsewhere.

As I mentioned in my last post about using Windows Backup, after I created this document I performed a manual backup to ensure nothing would happen to it before the next scheduled backup.

Performing a manual back up after creating/saving an important document.
Performing a manual back up after creating/saving an important document.

Now I have everything saved and secured.  So I reopen my document and start working on it and leave it up.  In my hypothetical case, I leave to get some coffee and come back to find that the cat has walked all over the keyboard.  I close the file without saving, but reopen it to find the cat saved his work!

My important text document has been overwritten with this!  Time to restore it!
My important text document has been overwritten with my cats very important message. Time to restore it!
The Restore Process

Open the Backup and Restore options from the control panel. Then click the ‘Restore my files’ option in the bottom right.  By default this will open a window to look at files on the currently selected backup.  The current back up is listed in the top section of the window [Ex: External_USB3_500GB (H:)].  If you have created another back up or have another drive with other data you need to recover from, click the ‘Select another backup to restore files from’ from the ‘Restore’ section of the window.

Restore my files
‘Restore my files’ is located in the bottom right hand of the backup and restore window.

Under the Restore Files window, you can search or browse for the files you want to restore.  As I know where the file is, I will browse for it.  If you choose to search, a new search window will appear and allow you select the documents you want.

Restore Files Window
This window will allow you to search or browse the backup for the files you are looking for.

After clicking ‘Browse for files’ the next window you see should be similar to the one below.  Navigate through the folders to find your document.

Browse for files
After clicking ‘Browse for files’ you should see a similar window pop up allowing you to browse the files within the backup.

In the image below, I have found the file I want.   After selecting all the files needed, click ‘Add files’ to add it to the files to be restored.

Browse for files - document found
‘Add files’ will add the document to a list of files for Windows to restore.

After adding the file, I will now begin the restore process by clicking Next.

Restore Files - File Selected
After selecting all files to be restored, select Next to start the restoration.

The next screen will allow you to select the location you want to restore the file to.  In my case, I would like to overwrite the bad file.  However, if you want to keep both, you can easily select a different location.

Restore File - Location Selection
Select the location to restore the file. In my case, I want the original location, although I could easily save the old copy elsewhere.

After clicking ‘Restore’, it will prompt you if you are overwriting the file.

Restoring File - Overwrite Prompt
If saving in the original location, or a file with the same name exists where you are restoring the file, Windows will prompt you to overwrite, rename or cancel the file copy.

Once completed the file should now be restored to its previous state and you will see a confirmation window.

When completed, you will be notified with a confirmation window.
When completed, you will be notified with a confirmation window.

That concludes how to restore a file from your back up.  It’s as easy as following the wizard.  If anything is still unclear though, I would like to know, so please feel free to comment!


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