While Windows Vista provides you with the Windows Easy Transfer tool for moving your data files from your old Windows XP computer to your new Windows Vista computer, there is another route to take — restoring from a backup. However, Windows Vista's Backup and Restore tools are completely different from the Backup program that came with Windows XP and so the backup files are incompatible. What do you do if you need/want to restore a Windows XP backup in Windows Vista?
Fortunately, Microsoft took this scenario into account and provided a supplemental utility called the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility that you can download and install in Vista. You can then use it to restore a backup made in Windows XP from within Windows Vista.
In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I'll show you how to download, install, and use this supplemental utility to restore an XP backup in Vista. As I do, I'll pass along some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of this type of restore operation.
Getting the supplemental utility
You can download the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility from the Microsoft Download Center. When you access the site, simply type Windows NT Backup in the Search box at the top of the page and click the Go button. Once you locate the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility page, as shown in Figure A, just click the Continue button to begin the Windows validation procedure and confirm that you are running a genuine version of Windows Vista.
|By searching for Windows NT Backup on the main Download Center page, you'll find the Windows NT Backup - Restore utility.|
Once the validation is complete, you can download the appropriate version of the utility — either 32-bit or 64-bit. Make sure that you click the Save button and not the Install button in the File Download dialog box since you must complete some prep work before you can actually install the utility.
The prep work
Before you actually install and run the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility, you must enable the Removable Storage Management feature. (If you don't, you may receive an NTSMAPI.DLL error.) To do so, access the Control Panel from the Start menu and click the Programs item. Once the Programs window appears, locate and select the Turn Windows Features On or Off command under the Programs and Features heading, as shown in Figure B. When you do, you'll encounter a User Account Control (UAC) dialog box and will need to respond accordingly.
|You'll find the Turn Windows Features On or Off command under the Programs and Features heading.|
When you see the Windows Features dialog box, locate and select the check box next to Removable Storage Management option to turn the feature on, as shown in Figure C. Then, click OK. When you do, you'll see a progress dialog box and it may take a minute or two to turn on the Removable Storage Management feature.
|In Windows Vista you can turn many Windows features, such as Removable Storage Management on and off without having to install or uninstall them.|
Installing the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility
Once you've enabled the Removable Storage Management feature, you can install the utility. First, locate the MSI file you downloaded and double-click it. Once the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility Setup Wizard appears, as shown in Figure D, just follow the steps the wizard presents. Along the way, you'll encounter a UAC dialog box and will need to respond accordingly.
|The Setup Wizard will walk you through the installation procedure.|
Restoring a backup
Once the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility is installed, you can launch it from the Start menu. Oddly enough, Vista doesn't recognize the utility at all and displays a UAC that calls it an unidentified program. To continue, just click the Allow button.
You'll then see the main Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility, as shown in Figure E. As you can see, this window contains two tabs allowing you to either use the Restore Wizard on the Welcome tab or to perform a manual restore operation on the Restore and Manage Media tab.
|The Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility window provides you with two ways to launch a restore operation.|
In this case, I prefer to use the manual method; however, the Restore Wizard will work fine should you prefer that route. Once you select the Restore and Manage Media tab, you'll use the Catalog a Backup File command on the Tools menu to locate and open the backup file. You'll then use the Restore Files To control at the bottom of the window to select where you want to restore the files. Once you've configure the restore operation, as shown in Figure F, click the Start Restore button.
|You can use the features on the Restore and Manage Media tab to manually configure the restore operation.|
The utility will then prompt you to set the Advanced options. Clicking the Advanced button displays the Advanced Restore Options dialog box, as shown in Figure G. In order to have full access in Windows Vista to the files that you are restoring from Windows XP, make sure that you clear the Restore Security check box. If you don't, you'll have to manually take ownership of all the files once you restore them in Vista!
|You'll be prompted to set Advanced Restore options, before the restore operation commences.|
After you click OK to set Advanced options and click OK to confirm the restore operation, you'll see the Restore Progress dialog box, as shown in Figure H.
|The Restore Progress will keep you apprised of the restore operation.|
To complete the operation, you can close the Restore Progress dialog box and the Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility window. Once you complete the restore operation, you can then access the files from your Windows XP backup in Windows Vista.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.