Recover Files or Folders

Updated: August 21, 2008

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

If you lose data due to file corruption or some other type of disaster, you may be able to recover the data by using the “Restore the previous version” feature in Windows Explorer or the Recovery Wizard.

  • Use the Restore the previous version feature in Windows Explorer

    By default, Windows SBS 2008 configures the server to automatically save “shadow copies” of data twice daily by using the Volume Shadow Copy Service technology. If you lose critical data, in many cases you can use the Restore Previous Version feature to access and restore a copy of the lost data. Additionally, if you use folder redirection to manage the information storage for your network computers, users can also use this feature to restore information for redirected folders.

    To restore a previous version of a file or folder

    1. Open Windows Explorer and locate the file or folder for which you want to restore a previous version.

    2. Right-click the file or folder, and then click Restore previous versions.


Before you restore a previous version of a file or folder, open it to make sure that it is the version you want.

3.  Click an item in the list, and then click **Restore**.


The file or folder will replace the current version on your computer, and the replacement cannot be reversed.


If the Restore button is unavailable, you cannot restore a previous version of the file or folder. If the file or folder exists in a different location, you may be able to restore it from there. If not, you should be able to recover the file or folder by using the Recovery Wizard.

  • Use the Recovery Wizard

    If you cannot restore the previous version of a file or folder, you can use the Recovery Wizard in Windows Server Backup to recover files and folders from a backup.


Do not use the Recover Files and Folders option to recover a server application. Instead, if the application to be recovered uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) technology, use the Recover Applications option.
For more information about recovering server applications, see “Recover Applications and Data” at the Microsoft Web site (


To recover files and folders from a backup by using the Recovery Wizard, you must be a member of the Backup Operators or Administrators group, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. As a security best practice, consider using the Run as command to perform this procedure.

**To recover files and folders by using the Recovery Wizard**
1.  From the **Start** menu, click **Administrative Tools**, and then click **Windows Server Backup**.

2.  In the **Actions** pane of the snap-in default page, under **Windows Server Backup**, click **Recover**. This opens the Recovery Wizard.

3.  On the **Getting started** page, select **This server**, and then click **Next**.


This procedure assumes that the backup drive is connected directly to the computer that is running the Windows SBS 2008 server software.

4.  On the **Select backup date** page, select a date from the calendar and a time from the list for backup that you want to restore, and then click **Next**.

5.  On the **Select recovery type** page, click **Files and folders**, and then click **Next**.

6.  On the **Select items to recover** page, under **Available items**, expand the list until the folder you want is visible. In the adjacent pane, click a folder to display the contents. Click each item that you want to restore, and then click **Next**.


  • To select multiple consecutive files or folders, click the first item, hold down the SHIFT key, and then click the last item.

  • To select multiple nonconsecutive files or folders, hold down the CTRL key, and then click each item you want to select.

  • 7.  On the **Specify recovery options** page, under **Recovery destination**, do one of the following, and then click **Next**:
          - Click **Original location**.  
          - Click **Another location**. Then, type the path to the location, or click **Browse** to select it.  
    8.  Under **When Backup finds existing files and folders**, click one of the following, and then click **Next**:
          - **Create copies so I have both versions of the file or folder**  
          - **Overwrite existing files with recovered files**  
          - **Don't recover those existing files and folders**  
    9.  On the **Confirmation** page, review the details, and then click **Recover** to restore the specified items.
    10. On the **Recovery progress** page, you can view the status of the recovery operation and whether it was successfully completed.
    For more information about using the Recovery Wizard, see “Recovering Your Server” at the [Microsoft Web site]( (