How to Restore All Your Personal Files in Windows Vista - dummies

How to Restore All Your Personal Files in Windows Vista

By Dan Gookin

You can restore all your personal files if anything nasty ever befalls them. The steps work the same as for restoring any single file or folder, but you must take care to find the right folder.

  • This type of restore operation doesn’t recover all files on your computer, just the personal ones.

  • You can recover all your PC’s files even when your version of Windows lacks the Complete PC Backup. You start by reinstalling Windows and then reinstalling your program files. After that, use Restore to recover your personal files. The process isn’t perfect, and it’s time consuming, but it works.

To get all your personal files back in Windows Vista, follow these steps:

  1. Click the button Restore Files on the left side of the Backup Status and Configuration window.

    From the Start menu, choose All Programs→Accessories→System Tools→Backup Status and Configuration to open the window.

  2. Click the Restore Files button.

  3. Choose the option Files from the Latest Backup.

    That is assuming that you want the most recent version of the file. If not, choose the option Files from an Older Backup.

  4. Click the Next button.

    The key to restoring your personal files is to choose your account’s personal folder.

  5. Click the button Add Folders.

    The Add Folder to Restore window appears.

  6. From the Address bar, choose Users.

    The Users folder is “one folder up” from your account folder.

    You may have to click the angle-brackets thing (<<) at the left end of the Address bar to display a drop-down folder menu. From this menu, you can choose the Users folder.

  7. Click to select your account folder from the list.

    Your account folder has the same name as your account in Windows.

  8. Click the Next button and continue to restore the files.

  9. Click the Start Restore button.

    The files are restored.

  10. Click the Finish button.

  11. Close the Backup window.

Be sure that you choose the option Copy But Keep Both Files when restoring the older version, when you do want to keep both files.