Retrieving from Old Backups (.bkf) with Windows 7

Okay, I know you have never used the Windows backup tool in Windows versions prior to Windows 7, so this article is not of any use to you. Windows 7 uses an entirely new scheme for storing backups and, out of the box, is not able to read the older backup files. (This might apply to Windows Vista, as well).

Just like VHS tapes and floppy diskettes, backup files that were created with prior versions of Windows are going by the wayside and are not usable, by default, under Windows 7. Fortunately, Microsoft has made a utility available for Windows 7 that can retrieve files from those old backup-files. First, you will need to get Microsoft’s program from Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7.

Installing the utility will add the “NTBackup-RestoreUtility” shortcut to the Start Menu—follow Start MenuAll ProgramsAccessoriesSystem Tools (the program in the Windows’s System directory, %SystemRoot%\system32\NtBackupRestoreUtility.exe. Note that this program will only restore data—it will not back files up into a new or existing .bkf backup-file.

The restore utility is associated with .bkf files, so you can simply double-click on a .bkf backup file to invoke the restore program. Oddly, invoking the program in this way does not “open” that file, it simply run the program. Each backup-file must be added to the program’s catalog before before any files from it can be retrieved. Catalog a backup-file, click the ToolsCatalog a backup file… menu item; this will open a dialog so that you can use to navigate to the backup-file you want to restore. As you add the various .bkf files to the catalog, the program should start looking more like the backup program of old. You can then recover files from these files, as you used to.

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