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Restoring entire Windows 8 'File History' backup

Posted on 2013-06-03
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Last Modified: 2013-06-04
I have a laptop with a borked hard drive: doesn't boot, a working PC can't read the drive - it's recognised only as a 'RAW' drive not an NTFS one.

The laptop ran Windows 8 and used 'File History' to keep a backup of all the files in Documents, Music, Pictures etc to a network location

I can browse that network location and I see the files, but among them there are multiple copies of each file with timestamps in their name, so they must be the previous versions of those files that File History maintains to be able to restore files back to historical states.

I need to restore everything.  Microsoft's documentation doesn't seem to cover that eventuality.

I have only Windows 7 PCs to refer to until a replacement hard drive arrives later today, onto which I can reinstall Windows 8 for the machine that has the dead drive.  I'm sure then I'd be able to use File History to recover the single and most recent copy of everything from that backup.

Has anyone done that before (how) or been able to restore using a non-Windows 8 machine?  If this was an urgent job it'd be better to be able to restore now, but happily it's not, and we can wait till we get Windows 8 to do it - but I'm still interested.
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Question by:RedLondon
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Accepted Solution

by:
Sam Simon Nasser earned 2000 total points
ID: 39218197
did you formatted the drive? if no, DON'T format it.
you need to run chkdsk utility ... you have many options
1. from live CD's, like Hiren, BART
2. windows XP setup CD, boot into the CD, at the first screen press R, and from there run
CHKDSK C: /P /R

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LVL 11

Author Comment

by:RedLondon
ID: 39218681
No the drive hasn't been reformatted, but CHKDSK can't read it under Windows 7 ("The type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.")

Neither CHKDSK under Windows 7 system recovery disc nor under Windows 7 booted normally does not support /P

Booting a Windows 7 PC with a Windows XP CD under Recovery Console, the Administrator password is rejected

I'm happy to try BartPE or Hiren but neither bootdisc's websites say they include CHKDSK - do you know if they do?
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Sam Simon Nasser
ID: 39218850
BART yes it have ...
for windows xp, why it rejected the password? try pressing ENTER without any password ...
and off course the chkdsk won't work under windows because windows itself is not reading the drive
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LVL 11

Author Comment

by:RedLondon
ID: 39221217
I booted from a Windows 8 installation DVD and ran chkdsk.  It began, showed it had fixed a couple of problems, but then the hard drive started making a scratching noise and simply stopped responding.

Since then I have tried two different Linux boot discs and the Windows 8 DVD again, none recognise that the drive is even there, so instead of being shown as a RAW drive, it's not a drive at all.

I now have Windows 8 running on the new hard drive but am still stuck with Windows 8's File History - I couldn't see any notes on how to recover all of the data before I got the W8 PC back up and running, and that hasn't changed now that it is running.

I strongly suggest to anyone reading this in the future that you do not even begin to rely on Windows 8's File History system: it seems unable to restore from a 'new' PC
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LVL 11

Author Closing Comment

by:RedLondon
ID: 39221224
Not really an answer to the question of how to restore from Windows 8 File History, but it was a potentially useful answer to my situation of having a borked system hard drive and an inaccessible File History backup on a different hard drive.

I wanted to access the File History, this suggested how I could've unborked the system hard drive.  It physically failed so it's not to be.

I need to move on, I've wasted enough time trying to read the data from the old drive, closing this question so that that drive can get out of my life!
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