Restore data after a hard drive crash

This article explains how to restore files and folders from a backup after a hard drive crash. Backup4all creates standard zip files thus to restore data from a backup it is not necessary to use it, you can use other compatible zip programs.

On this page: How to install and register Backup4all on the new hard drive How to restore data from a backup using Backup4all How to restore data from a backup stored on CD/DVD/Blu-ray How to restore data from a backup stored on an FTP server How to restore data from a backup stored on a local drive, external USB drive or LAN How to restore data from a backup without using Backup4all

Backup4all creates standard zip files thus to restore data from a backup it is not necessary to use it, you can use other compatible zip programs. However, the easiest method (and recommended) is to let Backup4all restore the data.

Note: Zip files are created only when using a backup type with zip compression (full, incremental or differential). Mirror backups contain uncompressed data.

How to install and register Backup4all on the new hard drive

First step in restoring the data after a hard drive crash is to reinstall your operating system. After that Backup4all needs to be installed and registered.

Follow these steps to install and register Backup4all on the new hard drive:

  1. Install Backup4all on the new hard drive. Make sure it has the same version number as the one you have used before: Backup4all 2.x, 3.x, 4.x or 5.x.
  2. To register your copy of Backup4all follow these steps:
    • Open Backup4all, go to the File->Help menu and press "Enter registration key" button. (for Backup4all 4, go to Help menu and select Register)
    • In the Register Backup4all window (also click on Register tab in Backup4all 3) enter the registration name and key (use copy/paste to avoid typos).
    • Click on the Activate (Register - for Backup4all 4) button to finish this process. A “Backup4all is now registered. Thank you” message window will confirm that the registration was successful.

Note: If you use Backup4all 3, after the registration is complete you have to delete the sample backup jobs (created by default) to be able to open backup jobs having a similar name (i.e. a backup job called “My Documents” will not be opened if a sample job with the same name already exists).

How to restore data from a backup using Backup4all

In order to restore data from a backup, the .bkc catalog and backup files are necessary. These are located on the backup destination, which can be one of the following: local hard drive, external USB drive, CD, DVD or Blu-ray, LAN or FTP. Due to the differences in the restore process we treat each case separately.


1. How to restore data from a backup stored on a local drive, external USB drive or LAN.

First make sure that the backup destination is available for the restore process:


- if backup is stored on an USB drive, make sure the external USB drive is properly connected and is turned on
- for a LAN destination, make sure the network is connected

If the destination is available, follow these steps to restore the data:

  1. Open Backup4all and go to File->Open. Browse the backup destination for the .bkc catalog file that you want to restore from, select it and press Open. This will add the backup job in the backup list.
  2. Right-click the backup job and select Restore (or press F7). This will open the Restore Wizard.
  3. In the Where do you want to restore section, select the location where data will be restored.
    • If you select Use original location, make sure that the same drive letters you had on the original location exist on your new hard drive. Backup4all will try to re-create the same files paths. If you're not sure what drive configuration you had, it is recommended to select Choose another location.
    • If you select Choose another location, you can browse for a restore destination.
  4. In the How do you want to restore section, make sure that Restore the latest version of all files is the selected option.
  5. Click Finish and the restore process will be performed.

2. How to restore data from a backup stored on a CD, DVD or Blu-ray

  1. If the backup was spanned on multiple disks, the .bkc file is on the last written disk. Open Backup4all and go to File->Open. Insert the disk where the .bkc file is located, select it and press Open. This will add the backup job in the backup list.
  2. Right-click the backup job and select Restore (or press F7). This will open the Restore Wizard.
  3. In the Where do you want to restore section, select the location where the data will be restored.
    • If you select Use original location, make sure that the same drive letters you had on the original location exist on your new hard drive. Backup4all will try to re-create the same files paths. If you're not sure what drive configuration you had, it is recommended to select Choose another location.
    • If you select Choose another location, you can browse for a restore destination.
  4. In the How do you want to restore section, make sure that Restore the latest version of all files is the selected option.
  5. Click Finish and the restore process will be performed. If your backup was spanned on multiple disks during the restore process you will be asked to enter the next disk.

3. How to restore data from a backup stored on an FTP server.

Follow these steps to restore the data stored on an FTP server:

  1. Use an FTP client to download the .bkc file from the FTP server.
  2. Open Backup4all and go to File->Open. Browse the folders for the .bkc catalog file that you have just downloaded, select it and press Open. This will add the backup job in the backup list.
  3. Right-click the backup job and select Restore (or press F7). This will open the Restore Wizard.
  4. In the Where do you want to restore section, select the location where the data will be restored.
    • If you select Use original location, make sure that the same drive letters you had on the original location exist on your new hard drive. Backup4all will try to re-create the same files paths. If you're not sure what drive configuration you had, it is recommended to select Choose another location.
    • If you select Choose another location, you can browse for a restore destination.
  5. In the How do you want to restore section, make sure that Restore the latest version of all files is the selected option.
  6. Click Finish. The duration of the restore process depends on your connection speed and backup size.
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How to restore data from a backup without using Backup4all

Backup4all creates standard zip files that can be opened with 3rd party zip programs. It is not necessary to have Backup4all installed in order to restore data from the .zip files. Windows Explorer can be used to open the .zip files up to 2 Gb and WinZip 9.1 or later is used to open .zip files larger than 2 Gb.

Note: If the backup was spanned on multiple disks, when restoring data you must start with the last written disk that contains the .zip file.

Steps to restore data using Windows Explorer:

  1. Right-click the .zip file and select Extract All...
  2. In the new opened window click Next.
  3. Select a location where the files will be unzipped. Click Next.
  4. Set (check) the “Show extracted files” option and click Finish. The destination folder will be opened.

If the backup was performed using the Create Independent Splits option, the advantage is that each zip file can be extracted individually. However, if a file big enough to be split into more than one zip file was backed up, an additional operation needs to be performed in order to manually restore that file.

Steps for restoring a split file from independent zip archives:

  1. Unzip the archives that were created by Backup4all. Assuming that the initial file was called music.wav, if the file was split in 2 parts the problem is that both will have the same name, music.wav. Thus, when un-zipping the archive that contains the second part of the original music.wav, you'll get a message that a file with the same name already exist - you need to press Rename and name it music2.wav. Also, to make things easier, you need to rename the first part of the split file to music1.wav. The files you have renamed, music1.wav and music2.wav, need to be combined so that you have the entire original file, music.wav.
  2. Open the Windows command prompt (Start->Run, type cmd and press Enter). Using the command copy (write copy/? and press Enter to see the help for this function) write copy music1.wav /b + music2.wav /b music.wav (first two files are the sources, last file is the destination) and press Enter. Note that you have to be in the folder where the source files are in order for it to work.

If you have used the mirror type for backup, you can simply use the copy-paste commands in order to restore your data to a restore folder. To accomplish that, please follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and go to the backup destination.
  2. Open Edit menu->click Select All (Ctrl+A).
  3. Open Edit menu->click Copy (Ctrl+C).
  4. Go to the restore folder.
  5. Open Edit menu->click Paste (Ctrl+V).

Applies to:

- All Backup4all versions.

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