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I have upgraded to Windows 8, but I'm planning to restore an old Windows 7 backup taken with Acronis.

Unfortunately, my backups are named by date, and not OS. How can I look at the contents of such a backup to determine if the backup set is for Windows 7 or Windows 8?

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don't you know when (or roughly when) you did a backup? Also, to be clear a backup would be very unlikely to restore the OS. An actual image of the machine would but it is unlikely that this is what you have. – EBGreen Dec 11 '12 at 18:32
Specifically, it is an Acronis Image backup, so it is restorable. I just have about 6 of them, some of which are Win7 and some are Win8. I need to find the most recent Win7, hence my question. – user1009073 Dec 11 '12 at 18:35
So you don't know when you changed your operating system? – EBGreen Dec 11 '12 at 18:45
Yes, that is correct. It was either the 16, 17, 18, 19, etc... – user1009073 Dec 11 '12 at 18:49
So restore to the last one. If that isn't it, restore to the next previous, etc. There may be a date in the registry or WMI that indicates when the OS was installed also. – EBGreen Dec 11 '12 at 18:50
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you have True Image 2012 or 2013 installed, you can easily explore your backup images:

  1. In Windows Explorer, locate the backup from which you want to restore data, right-click on it and select Open:


  2. If the backup contains several slices from different dates, select the necessary slice:


  3. Select the necessary partition:


  4. You will see the disk contents in the Windows Explorer window. You can copy and paste or drag-and-drop files and folders from the backup to your system:


  5. As far as identifying the OS goes, I guess you can check the version of Windows\Explorer.exe. It should be 6.1.7601 for Windows 7 SP1, and 6.2.9200 for Windows 8.

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+1 A better answer than mine for the literal question asked. I still think mine would be faster/easier to solve the underlying issue though :) – EBGreen Dec 11 '12 at 19:11
@EBGreen: True, but if he's unsure even after identifying the install date then this might help nail it rather than restoring multiple times unnecessarily. – Karan Dec 11 '12 at 19:21
I was referring to my answer of determining the install date. Not my comment to try different restores. – EBGreen Dec 11 '12 at 19:23
Thanks... Bullet number 5 was what I was looking for. – user1009073 Dec 11 '12 at 19:32
@EBGreen: Just to generalise this: Suppose someone backed up their systems twice on the same day - once when it had Win7 and once after installing Win8+apps. How would determining the Win8 install date enable them to determine 100% which backup image is for which OS? Note that the backup image's creation/access date can very easily change if it is copied/moved etc. So IMO the best way to confirm would be to actually look inside. – Karan Dec 11 '12 at 19:33

In windows 8, open powershell then run this command:

[Management.ManagementDateTimeConverter]::ToDateTime((gwmi Win32_OperatingSystem).InstallDate)

That will tell you when W8 was installed. I realize this doesn't answer the specific question that was asked, but it should solve your actual issue.

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