How to Restore Files and Folders From Windows 7 System Image Backup

Windows 7 system image backup created for restore a whole computer from Windows installation CD.  You could avoid time wastage and additional work by system image back up when Windows 7 computer crashes. This post explains how to restore files and folders from Windows 7 system image backup without restoring full backup.

When you don’t have latest normal backup to restore your data, this Windows 7 system image backup can be used to get your files and folder back.  Windows 7 Backup and Restore in control panel doesn’t have straight option to restore data from system image backup, so we will use a tricky method to access data from image backup.

Normally, Windows 7 system image backup have following files.

Restore Files Folders Windows 7 System Image Backup

The above system image backup can be easily restored by Windows 7 installation DVD when boot with DVD. Now we will see how to open this backup data and access files and folders.

You can find out how to take Windows 7 system image back up here.

My above backup is actually having two disk partitions data, as mentioned in earlier post.  Both partitions stored as VHD files in system image backup. You can access backed up files and folders by opening these VHD files.

Follow the steps to open and access Windows 7 system Image backup VHD Files.

1) Go to Computer Management by right clicking My Computer.

2) Right Click on Disk Management and select attach VHD.

Restore Files Folders Windows 7 System Image Backup

3) Browse for the VHD file inside Windows 7 system image backup location. I suggest selecting ‘Read Only’ option to keep backup data safe. If any files deleted or over written then the particular system image backup may not be useful later.

Restore Files Folders Windows 7 System Image Backup

4) That’s it. Now we successfully mounted VHD file from backup. The mounted VHD partition will be working as any other partitions in windows 7 without write permission.  Explore the partition, copy and restore required files or folder to physical partition. This is a very easy method to restore files and folders from Windows 7 System image backup without full restore.

Restore Files Folders Windows 7 System Image Backup

5) Once restored required data, immediately detach VHD file from disk management. Right click on attached Disk and select Detach VHD.

Restore Files Folders Windows 7 System Image Backup

6) You can use the same VHD files with another Windows 7 machines also.  VHD is Microsoft’s Virtual Hard Disk format supported by most of the virtualization software. There for this VHD file can be accessible by other virtualization software like VMware, VirtualBox and Microsoft Virtual PC.  Mounting VHD files without additional software is one of the new features in Windows 7.

I’m sure this small tutorial will be useful to recover data from Windows 7 system image backup without full restoration or additional software. Share your problems if you face any difficulties.

7 thoughts on “How to Restore Files and Folders From Windows 7 System Image Backup”

  1. Seems there is something weird going on: When I select Read-only as suggested when I attach the vhd file, I get an uninitialized disk! I have to attach it Read-write once (getting it somehow modified, of course, at least the time stamp changes), then I detach it again. After that, Read-only mounting works as described. Don’t know what would happen if I tried to restore the backup…

  2. Hi,
    Ireally like the way you described this function and I am sure it will be an excellent help in many cases!
    However, I had some trouble (lost my Oultook contacts and looking now for the pst file in my Image/vhd file). I followed your steps was abel to find the related vhd file by adding it, but it is shown not as a drive (with a drive letter) but only like a disk with the comment “not allocated”. Therefore nothing is shown in my windows explorer and as a locigal consequence I am unable to access my pst file, Any help would be very much appreciated! Thanks a lot in advance.

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