If you are using Windows XP and regularly backup your data
to an external hard disk using Windows
XP’s Backup Utility
, chances are that you imagined that when it was time to
move to a new Windows 8 computer, you would simply restore your backup into the
new operating system. Or maybe you have found yourself with a completely dead
Windows XP computer and all you have left is your trusty external hard disk
containing a recent backup created with Windows XP’s Backup Utility.

Regardless of your situation, you will not be happy to learn
that Windows 8’s backup and restore tools are completely different from the
Backup Utility that came with Windows XP and as such the backup files are
incompatible. You’ll also not be happy to learn that while Microsoft provided
supplemental utilities that were designed to allow you to restore a Windows XP
backup in Windows Vista and for Windows 7; they haven’t done so for Windows 8.
And, to add insult to injury, neither of the previous supplemental utilities
will work in Windows 8.

Fortunately, you will be very happy to learn there’s a way
that you can make Windows XP’s Backup Utility run in Windows 8. Of course, I
wouldn’t recommend using it on a regular basis, but this technique works perfectly
fine to restore a Windows XP backup in Windows 8.

In this article, I’ll show you how to get Windows XP’s
Backup Utility to run in Windows 8. I’ll then walk you through a restore
operation and pass along some pointers as I do.

This
article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Caveats

You may have noticed that I specifically mentioned restoring
data from an external hard disk. The
reason that I did is because Windows 8, like Windows 7, no longer includes the Removable
Storage Manager, which is required to restore a backup that was saved on tape. As
such, if you need to restore a Windows XP backup that was saved on tape; you
will need to restore it on a computer running Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Getting Windows XP’s Backup Utility

Getting Windows XP’s Backup Utility to run in Windows 8 is
actually very easy once you know how. As it turns out, Windows XP’s Backup
Utility only needs three files to run:

  1. ntbackup.exe
  2. ntmsapi.dll
  3. vssapi.dll

Of course, ntbackup.exe is the utility’s executable file, ntmsapi.dll
is the Removable Storage Public Interfaces DLL file, and vssapi.dll is the
Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Requestor/Writer Services API DLL file. (Even
though the Removable Storage Public Interfaces DLL file is required, you still
can’t restore from a tape drive in Windows 8.)

If you still have access to a Windows XP system, you can
simply copy these three files from the C:\Windows\System32 folder onto a flash
drive. If you don’t have access to a Windows XP system, you’ll discover that
some enterprising users on Web have made these files available for download;
just Google nt5backup.cab. The .cab file functions just like a .zip file, so
all you have to do is extract the three required files. For example, I
extracted the three files to a folder I created called NT Backup, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

 

Windows XP’s Backup Utility only needs three files to run.

Create a receiving folder

When you are using Windows XP’s Backup Utility to restore
files into Windows 8, you need to be aware that you are forcing old technology
to work in a new operating system and will need to take some precautions along
the way. The first precaution is not to attempt to restore files into their
original location. For example, you won’t want to restore Windows XP’s My
Documents into Windows 8’s Documents due to differences in naming, permissions,
volume mount points, etcetera. Instead, you will want to create a folder in
your Windows 8 system and then restore your XP files into that folder. You can
then redistribute them into the proper Windows 8 folders later.

For my example, I created a folder called XP Restore in my
Documents folder, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

 

You will want to create a separate folder into which you
will restore your Windows XP files.

Running a restore operation

To get started, go to the folder to which you copied the three
files and run the ntbackup.exe file. When you do, the Backup Utility will begin
looking for backup devices, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

 

When you launch the Backup Utility, it will look for backup
devices.

In a moment, the Backup Utility will display a message box,
as shown in Figure D, informing you that it cannot connect to the Removable
Storage service. As I mentioned earlier, Windows 8, doesn’t include the Removable
Storage Manager, which is required to restore a backup that was saved on tape.
Fortunately, this isn’t a showstopper and you can just click OK to bypass the
message.

Figure D

 

The Backup Utility will not be able to locate the Removable
Storage service and display this message.

You then see the first screen in the Backup and Restore
Wizard, as shown in Figure E. While you can use the wizard to run the restore
operation, you can save yourself some steps by selecting Advanced Mode.

Figure E

 

While you can run restore from the wizard, you will be best
served by running it in Advanced Mode.

When you see the main Backup Utility screen, shown in Figure
F
, you’ll want to select the Restore and Manage Media tab.

Figure F

 

You’ll select the Restore and Manage Media tab.

Once you access the Restore and Manage Media tab, as shown
in Figure G, you’ll see the controls that you will need to configure and use to
perform the restore operation.

Figure G

 

In Advance Mode interface, you will see all the controls
that you need to configure and use to perform a restore operation.

The first setting that you will need to change is the
Restore files to setting. You’ll need to select Alternate location from the
drop down and then use the Browse button to select the receiving folder that
you created earlier. As you can see in Figure
H
, I selected the XP Restore folder that I created.

Figure H

 

You’ll specify the receiving folder you created as the
alternate location.

Now you will need to locate and select the backup file. To
do so, pull down the Tools menu and select the Catalog a backup file command.
When you see the Open Backup File dialog box, click the browse button and
locate your backup file. As you can see in Figure I, I have selected my Backup.bkf
file on the external hard disk assigned to drive E.

Figure I

 

Use the Catalog command to open your backup file.

Once you select your backup file, it will appear in the
Backup Utility. If you don’t want to restore everything, you can expand the
tree and then you can pick and choose individual files, as shown in Figure J.

Figure J

 

If you would prefer not to restore everything, you can pick
and choose individual files.

Once you are satisfied with your configuration settings,
just click the Start Restore button. When you do, you’ll be prompted to confirm
the restore operation and can just select OK to begin. Once the restore
operation is complete, you’ll notice that the Status indicates that the
operation was Completed with Skipped Files, as shown in Figure K.

Figure K

 

The Status indicates that files were skipped.

If you then click the Report button, you’ll notice that the
log indicates that every file was skipped due to insufficient privileges, as
shown in Figure L. However, when you check the receiving folder that you
created, you’ll find that every file has indeed been restored properly. You can
write this off as a side effect of running a Windows XP program in Windows 8.

Figure L

 

The report indicates that none of the files were restored.

To complete the operation, just close the Backup Utility.

Alternatives

If you encounter a corrupt backup file or prefer to use a
more full featured restore program to restore a Windows XP backup in Windows 8,
then you might want to investigate the BKF
Repair Tool
from SysTools. While this tool is primarily designed to recover
and repair BKF files so that you can restore them, it is compatible with
Windows 8 and can be used to perform a normal restore operation. You can
download a free demo that will allow you to test its validity – you can access
and see your files but you can’t actually restore them. If you like what you
see and want to use the BKF Restore Tool to actually restore your Windows XP
backup to your Windows 8 system, you will need to purchase the
program
.

What’s your take?

Are you planning on restoring a Windows XP backup in Windows
8? If so, will you use the technique shown in this article? As always, if you
have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to
drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.