NTBACKUP in Vista or 7

NTBACKUP was the backup application included in Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. For a backup application, it was reliable, simple and did its job well. But Microsoft ditched it for the all-new Windows Backup and Restore Center in Windows Vista. It’s a welcome change, as NTBACKUP was looking quite dated, especially compared to image-based products like TrueImage and Ghost.

NTBACKUP isn’t included in Vista or 7, but there may come a time when you might need to restore a file from a BKF backup. After all, there are tons of Windows Server 2003 boxes still chugging along out there, even though IT staff might have updated their desktops to Vista or 7 ages ago. So what do you do when you need NTBACKUP in Vista or 7?

You just go to any physical or virtual XP install and copy the following files from the SYSTEM32 folder to a USB drive or network share:


Keeping the files in the same folder, you can now run NTBACKUP on your Vista or 7 machine. When you start the app, you will probably get the following error message:

ntbackup error

This error is expected. Removable Storage Manager is disabled in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, and doesn’t exist at all in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. So just click OK and continue. You can then locate the BKF file using the browse feature and restore the file(s) as necessary.

You probably won’t want to use this to actually back up a Server 2008 or Windows 7 installation, but it’s nice to know that you can still restore files from backups if needed.

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