Reloaded Vista - now computer won't find external backup drive

  Pineman100 10:16 30 Dec 13
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Answered

My son-in-law asked me to reformat his Dell Inspiron 1525 and do a clean reload of a misbehaving Windows Vista.

Before I did this, I used the Windows Backup function In Backup and Restore Center to save all of his data files to my external USB HDD. This function created a new folder on the drive called Richard-PC, which appears to hold the full data backup.

I have now fully reloaded Vista and all of the device drivers. However, I'm finding it impossible to restore the data backup. Here's what happens:-

  • I go to Control Panel > Backup and Restore Center

  • I click the radio button for Restore Files From Latest Backup > Next

I immediately get an error report which says:

Windows Backup The disk containing the backup is not accessible. Please make sure it is turned on and connected to the computer.

The HDD that contains the backup is connected and turned on. What's more I can see it using Windows Explorer and see all the folders on it, including the Richard-PC backup folder.

I have also tried all of the other Restore options. Under Advanced Restore > Files from an older Backup made on this computer, the backup list shows the HDD drive, but reports it as:

Backup location is not available.

Please can anyone help me to restore the data to this computer?

  Newuser4165 10:39 30 Dec 13

May possibly be a problem with the drive letter being allocated by the new installation of Vista. When you did the initial backup your external drive will have been given a drive letter by Windows.You need to ensure that you use the same drive letter for the disk in the new installation.With the drive connected navigate to Disk Management and reassign the original drive letter to the external drive.

  rdave13 10:47 30 Dec 13

Also check the "name" of the PC is the same as you had previously.

  Pineman100 11:56 30 Dec 13

Thanks to you both for your replies.

The computer name is definitely the same. I confess that I didn't note the drive letter that was automatically allocated to the USB HDD when I created the backup.

The drives on the computer now are:-

C: = internal HDD, D: = CD/DVD drive, E: is my USB HDD.

Before the Windows reload the computer had exactly the same drive setup, so would it not automatically have assigned the same drive letters?

  rdave13 14:40 30 Dec 13
Answer

Worth reading through this thread for some ideas.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:51 30 Dec 13

Tried copying the folder from the external drive to the internal drive and then running the backup.

  Pineman100 15:00 30 Dec 13

rdave13 - many thanks, that looks informative and useful. It seems that mine is a common problem, with very few solutions!

I'm truly astonished that Microsoft couldn't come up with a more flexible and user-friendly backup/restore system than this!

However, way down near the bottom of your linked forum thread, I learn that the old data files can be restored to the new windows installation from windows.old. I didn't realise this - I thought that windows.old was only the old OS.

So I shall give this a try and report back, in case others might find the information useful.

Thanks again.

  Pineman100 15:17 30 Dec 13

Hi Fruit Bat /\0/\

I'll certainly try that, although in the thread that rdave13 linked to someone else tried it without success.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll report back.

  Pineman100 17:13 30 Dec 13

Right - here's what I've done.

I tried copying the backup folder to the computer's C: drive and restoring from there - no difference. The restore function still refused to see it.

I went to the windows.old folder on the C: drive (created automatically when I reinstalled Vista) and found all the old data files intact there. As I said above, I have always assumed that this automatically created copy of the old system simply contained the OS, but on examination I find that it actually contains a complete image of the old system - OS, applications and data. Thank goodness for that!

So I'm now going to copy back the data from windows.old into the new installation of Vista.

Thanks very much to everyone for your thoughts and ideas on this problem.

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