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Vista Restore of NTBackup

Need backups from systems older than Vista? You can go back again.

Vista's updates to the old NTBackup utility include some really neat new features. You now can back up all files on the system based on content type or extension. Creating automated backups that kick off on a regular schedule is much improved -- no more at jobs! Shadow copies, while available in previous OSes as an add-on, are now native. You can even create a full, sector-based image of your whole hard drive should you ever need to restore from a hardware failure.

Where Vista's new backup features come up lacking is in their complete and utter inability to restore from previous versions of NTBackup. Now I can see where Vista's developers wanted to bootstrap its users into this new and robust backup format, but a lot of us have old NTBackup-style .BKF files out there that we'll someday need to restore.

If you're one of those types and found yourself out of luck with Vista's native backup, check the Microsoft Web site again, and search for "ntbackup vista." You'll find among the list a download titled, "Windows NT Backup -- Restore Utility." This tool allows you to restore -- and only restore -- your old .BKF files on a Vista workstation. It's a neat throwback to the old NTBackup, even sporting the same interface, but with only the Restore Wizard button now available.

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To use the tool, you will need to enable the Removable Storage Management feature first. Do this by navigating to Programs and Features in the Control Panel and clicking the link for Turn Windows features on or off. At the resulting screen tick the box next to Removable Storage Management and click OK. Now you're back in business if you're in need of the old stuff.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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