Data Centers

Slideshow: Use System Restore Explorer to recover data files

Access denied to the System Volume Information folder

In a recent blog titled Recover data files in Windows 7 with Previous Versions, I showed you how to use the Previous Versions feature in Microsoft Windows 7 to recover data in the event that a file is inadvertently deleted or becomes corrupted or even if you simply want to instantly undo a vast amount of editing changes. As I explained, the Previous Versions feature uses the System Restore feature in order to work its magic.

Over the weekend I was telling a friend about the Previous Versions feature in Windows 7 and he told me that it sounded like a tool that he has been using called System Restore Explorer, from developer Nic Bedford. I had not heard about this particular tool and ask him to show it to me. What he showed me was pretty impressive and so, being a big believer in the idea that the more tools you have at your disposal the better prepared you are in the event of a disaster, I decided that I would write about it. So, in this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll take a closer look at System Restore Explorer.

This slideshow is also available as a post in the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog.

How it works

System Restore stores its backup on your hard disk in a hidden folder called System Volume Information that you are normally unable to access. If you attempt to access that folder, you'll encounter the error message shown.

However, System Restore Explorer provides you with the ability to access the System Volume Information folder and display the restore points. When you select a restore point, the System Restore Explorer will mount that restore point and then allow you to browse through the files and select those that you want restore. It's a very slick operation.

By Greg Shultz

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.