Restoring Windows 7 Backup Sets Kept In FreeNAS 9.1.0

Discussion in 'Help & Support' started by BobCochran, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. BobCochran Member

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    BobCochran, Sep 14, 2013

    Hi,

    I have approximately one month's worth of backup file "sets" kept on a 2 Tb drive configured as a CIFS share using the UFS file system, all this housed on FreeNAS 9.1.0. The backup software used is the Microsoft Windows Backup and Restore utility which is provided as part of the Control Panel running on a Windows 7 Ultimate host.

    The backups were done daily, and appeared to work just fine. The host machine used to run FreeNAS is an old Dell Vostro 410 machine with 4 Gb of memory. Because it has so little memory, I didn't try to set this up with ZFS-based storage.

    The Windows 7 host was kept current with all the updates provided by Windows Update.

    The Windows 7 host became malware infected. The infection was so extensive that I reinstalled Windows 7 to that machine.

    Now I want to restore the files that were backed up to the FreeNAS host. I can map a network drive to the FreeNAS host with no problem, but Windows 7 Backup cannot "see" the backup sets that were built. It keeps issuing a dialog stating that no backups were found on the drive and I should try a different location to find the files.

    Researching this more seems to show that the hard drive which receives the backup has to be formatted with the NTFS file system. Microsoft's own documentation seems to say this is true for a system image. I believe the name of the system image is "WindowsImageBackup". However I simply want to restore data that represent user data, not perform an actual restore of the operating system. It is unclear to me whether the user data is kept under folders named "Backup Set YYYY-MM-DD HHMMSS" (for example, "Backup Set 2013-05-10 064123". Some individuals state that the backup sets have to be stored on the root of the hard drive, as well. Windows 7 Backup itself doesn't seem to configure backup sets this way. It seems to set up a folder named the same as the first qualifier of the computer name being backed up, and under that one can find the backup sets as multiple different folders.

    My question is, has anyone successfully restored data from FreeNAS 9.1.0 using the Windows 7 "Backup and Restore" software that comes standard on Windows 7 Ultimate?


  2. cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

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    cyberjock, Sep 14, 2013

    Here's what I know from my albeit limited experience with the Windows Backup tool for Windows 7. I may have some of this wrong since I used it for a whole 2 months. Did a test restore with a blank disk to prove that my backups worked. Then abandoned all hope when i read up on the Windows Backup tool.

    You can backup to a network drive, but you cannot restore from a network. The general concensus was that the solution was to do your backups to a network drive and if you needed to do a restore simply copy your backup image files to a USB drive and plug that into your computer and do the restore(formatted with NTFS). Supposedly FAT32 would work except the file size limit would hamper getting the file onto the drive. FAT32 is limited to 4GB files, and I'd bet money your Window install with updates and no software is more than 4GB.

    I don't believe that the Windows 7 backup and restore tool will let you do a partial restore. It's an all-or-none deal.

    So assuming that what I've said above is correct, what I'd do in your case is restore to a spare disk, copy your files off the drive, then switch back to your new fresh Windows 7 install and copy your files back.

    It does add some extra steps to your recovery because you have to copy your image to and then recover from a USB drive. But it is doable with the extra steps.
  3. BobCochran Member

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    BobCochran, Sep 15, 2013

    Thank you. I copied approximately 900 Gb of backup sets to an external hard drive formatted as NTFS. I will post back later on when I attempt to restore.

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