Recovering Windows 7 Backup on Windows 8.1

My wife’s laptop recently died and was replaced. Unlike last time, there were regular backups with the last performed only a day or two before the failure.

So all is fine… Right?

Turns out not so much. The new laptop runs Windows 8.1. I plugged in the backup drive and opened the settings to look for the Backup and Restore link… and nothing. File History sounded promising, but different.

It turns out Windows 8 introduced a Time Machine like backup tool so they phased out the old Window 7 style backup. An option was provided in Windows 8 to restore “old” Windows 7 backups, but that was removed in Windows 8.1. That means people had a one year window to update from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and restore their files before Windows 8.1 was released. Not helpful!

The only method I could find that worked to restore this backup was:

  1. “Obtain” a copy of Windows 7 and make a VM
  2. Restore the files, selecting to restore the files to a different location (onto your backup USB drive if there is room)
  3. Copy the restored files across to your Windows 8.1 install (there will be a couple of files you can not overwrite – ignoring them seemed to work)

It is almost as if I should have never used the Windows 7 backup feature at all and just copied the files onto the backup drive… Now I have to decide how long the File History tool in Windows 8 will be supported or if I need to find another backup solution.

One thought on “Recovering Windows 7 Backup on Windows 8.1

  1. You should have a look at QtdSync. It is using rsync with cygwin and a very nice GUI with integrated scheduler.