Restore data after a hard drive crash

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Jul 09, 2019

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Restore data after a hard drive crash

This article explains how to restore files and folders from a backup after a hard drive crash.

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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 used before: Backup4all 8.x or older.
  2. To activate your copy of Backup4all follow these steps:
    • Open Backup4all, there you will be asked if you want to start trial or to enter the product key. Press the "Enter product key" button and enter your Backup4all key (use copy/paste to avoid typos).
    • If you already started the trial, go to the File -> Licensing menu and press "Enter product key" button.
    • In the Activate application window, enter the registration name and email.
    • Click on the Activate button to finish this process. A message window will confirm that the activation was successful: "This application was successfully activated".

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, FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, Azure, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, HiDrive, Hubic, Google Cloud Drive, or an S3 compatible destination. 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/SFTP server or from a cloud destination.

Follow these steps to restore the data stored on an FTP/SFTP server or from a cloud destination:

  1. Open Backup4all and go to File -> Open from.
  2. Select "FTP Server" option, press "Configure FTP" button and enter the FTP connection details.
  3. Browse the folders for the .bkc catalog file, or press Scan to search for it on the server. When found, select it and press Open. This will recreate the backup job in the backup list.
  4. Right-click the backup job and select Restore (or press F7). This will open the Restore Wizard.
  5. 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.
  6. In the How do you want to restore section, make sure that Restore the latest version of all files is the selected option.
  7. Click Finish. The duration of the restore process depends on your connection speed and backup size.

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).