Restoring Files from a System Backup

We use different methods to take backups of different Operating Systems. Choose your system below to see how to restore data from our System Backups:

 Instructions for Windows

On Windows PCs we use a backup format called VHD (Virtual Hard Disk). A single file contains all of your hard drive contents (much like a zip file). As the name suggests, they can be used like a hard drive:

 Mounting a Backup VHD

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Click on Computer
  3. Double-click to open C:
  4. Double-click to open Backup
  5. Inside you will see your backup, with the name of the computer. Usually there is only one, but if you had multiple hard drives or partitions, there might be more.
  6. Right-click on the backup to bring up the context menu:

  7. Click on Attach (read-only) If you do not see this menu entry, then you need to install the required software as described here.
  8. The first time you do this, you might have to wait as Windows installs necessary drivers. If so, wait until you see this notification, and then try again.

  9. Go back to Computer
  10. You should now see an extra drive, like this:
  11. Please note the the drive will have the same name as it did before, so you are likely to have two drives named "OSDisk". Drive C: is your actual OSDisk, the other is your backup.
  12. Double-click to open the drive, as normal.
  13. You can copy and paste files out of the backup and onto your hard drive, or into one of your network drives. Please note that this backup is read-only to prevent extra data being added to it by accident (as a result you will only be able to copy, and not move data out).

Common Locations for Data

If you are missing data, please ask us to help you find it. If you want to look yourself, data is often in one of the following locations:

  1. Under your user profile. This will be named after your university ID or firstname.lastname in either:
    1. c:\users\
    2. c:\documents and settings
  2. The application folder. This will usually be:
    1. C:\Program Files
    2. C:\Program files (x86)

Detaching a Backup VHD

  1. Once you have finished copying data out, you should detach it
  2. Browse to the C:\backup folder with the backup in
  3. Right-click to open the context menu
  4. Choose Detach
 Instructions for a Mac

 Instructions for Linux

Do I need to check my System Backup?

If you store all your files in network drives that are backed up, then you probably don't need to restore anything from your System Backup. Sometimes however applications store data in custom places on your hard drive. The best way to see if you are missing anything is to check that your applications still work as expected.

When should I do it?

First of all, you should check you backup as soon as possible, as it is much harder to remember what you had later. The best time is when we bring your computer back to you - we will be happy to help you check. If not then, then we recommend checking within 30 days, as this is how long we hold an extra copy for.

Should I delete my System Backup? Or keep it?

Complete backups are large, and usually take up most of your hard drive. Although you might want to keep it 'just in case', it is usually not practical to do so. As long as you have checked that all your data is present and your applications are working, you should probably delete your backup after two months to recover the space.