How to Restore Files from an Older Windows 7 Backup - dummies

How to Restore Files from an Older Windows 7 Backup

By Dan Gookin

When restoring files from a backup, the Windows restore operation looks for only the most recently backed-up file. But what about older files? What if you have a file that’s evolved and you need to recover an earlier version? Maybe you want both the earlier version and the current version. Windows Backup can handle that.

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose Back Up Your Computer (beneath the System and Security heading).

  3. Click the button Restore My Files.


  4. Click on the link Choose a Different Date.

  5. Select the backup date from which you want to restore and click Next.

  6. Add files and folders to be recovered.

    You can use three buttons on the right side of the screen to add files to the list:

    • Search: Click the Search button to summon the Search for Files to Restore window, where you can hunt down the files you want to restore.

    • Browse for File: Click this button to choose individual files to restore.

    • Browse for Folders: Click this button to restore an entire folder — and all files and folders in that folder.

    After choosing a button, you see another dialog box from which you choose the files. The dialog box lists files on the backup, not on your computer.

    Choose your user account from the list of folders on the left side of the window to locate your personal files and folders. Then browse the folders to find the files or folders you’re looking for.

    Keep adding the files you want to restore; repeat Step 5 and keep clicking the buttons to collect all the files and folders you want to restore.

  7. Click the Next button.

    You need to choose where to restore files. You have two options:

    • In the original location: The files and folders you selected are placed back on the hard drive in the same folder where Backup found them.

    • In the following location: You get to select in which folder to place the restored files. This option is best for recovering an older version of a file where you don’t want to overwrite the current version.

  8. Click the Restore button.

    The files are restored.

  9. Click the Finish button.

  10. 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.