Backing Up And Restoring Files With Windows 7

In the business world it’s critical for end users to have a backup solution available in case of data loss or system failure.

System Restore is one of the easiest ways to restore files and settings. If you can’t find a file on your computer or you accidentally modified or deleted a file, you can restore it from a backup if you’re using Windows backup in Windows 7, or you can try to restore it from a previous version.

Previous versions
Previous versions are copies of files and folders that Windows automatically saves as part of a restore point. Previous versions are sometimes referred to as shadow copies.

System Restore is a component of Microsoft’s Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems that allows for the rolling back of system files, registry keys, installed programs, etc., to a previous state in the event of system malfunction or failure. Using System Restore to restore previous versions is simple.

Simply open up any Explorer window, right-click on a file or folder you wish to restore, and select “Restore Previous Versions.”

For instance, if you accidentally deleted a file from a folder in My Documents, browse to a file you would like to restore from an earlier point (all of the contents may have been over written mistakenly.)

Likewise if you have accidently deleted a few documents from a folder within your My Documents folder titled “Easter Pictures,” simply right-click on the folder and select properties, then select the previews versions tab, then open previous versions from it.

Please note that this will only appear on files and folders, not drives or Libraries in Windows 7.

The dialog will show all of the previous copies of this folder that are available.  Click on the time you wish to restore from.

You can choose to either Open, Copy, or Restore the folder.  If you click Restore, you can restore the full contents of the folder as it appeared at some time in the past.

Choose “copy” to copy the entire contents of the folder as it appeared at that time to another location.  For instance, you could copy it to a flash drive for safe keeping, which also previews overwriting the current file.

Lastly you can choose “open” to browse the contents of the folder as it appeared at that time.

You can open, copy, or do anything you choose with the file from here.  For instance, if you deleted a folder named emails accidentally today, you could click copy, and then paste it into the location of your choice.

When in this mode, you are directly browsing the shadow copy of your hard drive.  The path to the folder shows the date and time of the copy.

And, the great thing is, this feature is available in all editions of Windows 7, including the low-cost Starter edition often preinstalled in netbooks.

System Restore is a great way to back up your files in case of accidental deletion, or unwanted changes, but should not be used for your disaster-recovery plan.

In cases of disaster-recovery, you will want to make sure you have a proper backup set to automatically backup your systems, System Restore should only be used as an addition to the backups you currently have setup with your IT professional.