Preparing for Vista Backup and Restore - Part 2 of 2

Happy New Year! 

Last time we finished with using CompletePC to backup the OS partitions/drives as well as work files and left with the question: how do I restore just my data/work drive, just a folder, or even just a file? Today's blog discusses a solution that (I think) is quite satisfactory. Please read on...

Restoring the entire computer:

CompletePC backup/restore does allow restoration of all the backup boot partitions/drives and optionally the individual data partitions/drives. This is the default capability for CompletePC Backup and Restore. If this is what you want, everything you need is built-in.

Restoring a Folder or a File:

As discussed in the last post, CompletePC backup/restore does not allow finer-granularity restoration of a folder or file. Fortunately, there is a solution using a tool called VHDMount which comes with Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 2. (Don't forget the Beta 2 part!) There are many blogs that describes how VHDMount work and there is no need to rehash the discussion here. Here is a brief description of what VHDMount can do for Vista CompletePC backups:

  • For each partition/drive that is backed up, CompletePC creates a .vhd file in the backup destination
  • VHDMount is a command line tool which takes the .vhd file and "mounts" it as a drive (like M:\)
  • Once the .vhd file is mounted as a drive, you can use Window Explorer (or whatever tools) to copy/restore whichever folder(s) or file(s)

One thing that is a little clumpsy with this technique is that you cannot easily associate which .vhd file to which previously backed up partition/drive by just visual inspection of the file name. The .vhd file name has the format similar to <guid>.vhd - not readily translated to which drive that was backed up.

Here are some links to downloading, installing, and customization of VHDMount.

At this point, I've tried VHDMount to access backed up my partitions/drives and found it to work very well. I am now a happy camper with Vista backup and restore!

That's all I have for Vista Backup and Restore. Have fun!