How to Restore a Backup From an External Hard Drive in Windows 7

There are times when you might need to restore a backup, either to a new computer or for disaster recovery after a crash. Assuming you’ve followed our advice and have used Windows 7’s built in Backup and Restore, this guide will show you how to restore a backup from your external hard drive.

This assumed you used an external hard diskĀ as your storage device. Other options might be CD/DVD re-writable although if you have a large backup and stored them on optical disks, you will need prepare to do a lot of disc swapping.

First thing, connect your external hard disk (I am using a USB external hard disk), then turn it on.


Click Start, type: backup



Hit Enter on your keyboard


Under Restore click Select another backup to restore files from

restore 1

If you have multiple backups stored on your external hard disk from different periods. select the one you want and click Next. In my case, I will use the latest one, in this case I will choose the latest one titled WIN7X64SP1-ACER

restore 2

You have the option of restoring specific files and settings, in this case, I want to restore everything. Click Next

restore 3

You have the option restoring your files to their original locations or you can choose an alternative. I found this particularly handy when a particular file refused to restore, what I did was restore it to a different location in the system, then copied it to the appropriate location. Click Restore to begin

restore 4

Depending on the size the backup, restoration might take some time. Make sure you are connected power and also have your backup connected to a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), in fact Backup and Restore will not work on battery power for laptops.

restore 5

When the restoration is complete, click Finish. If certain files were not restored, you will have the option view a log of the results. The best recommendation is to restore the files somewhere else temporarily, then cop the files to their respective locations.

1 Comment

  • Nate says:

    But what If you’re trying to restore after switching OS’s?
    For example, I did exactly what you did in this guide,
    I actually did a full system backup onto an external drive,
    then had to do a CUSTOM(clean) installation to upgrade my OS from Win7 Starter to Win7 Professional, because it wouldn’t let me upgrade for some reason.
    So now, when I go to the ‘Backup and Restore’ feature, it says I have nothing backed up because it’s a newly installed system. Even though all my data that I backed up is for sure on my External drive.
    This is where I’m stuck and could really use some advice. I hope I didn’t mess up.

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