I have noticed that when you use Backup and Restore in Windows 7 you get a backup of compressed and sliced up .zip files. So how do I backup without compression? I just want to browse my backup as normal folders.


Windows backup keeps archives as VHD(Virtual Hard Drive) files. You can mount these files via Disk Manager from control panel to extract some files. Take a look on this step-by-step guide how to do it with pictures. I will cite procedures here just in case link above might be unavailable over time:

From control panel choose "Administrative Tools" and make a right click on "Computer management" and run it "as administrator". In new pop up windows "Computer management" click on Storage/Disk Management and from the upper menu click on "Action" and choose "Attach VHD". Browse to backup location and select VHD file you want to open that would be a file with extension vhd. (Usual location is in : [Drive Letter]:\WindowsImageBackup[Computer Name]\Backup [year-month-day] [hours-minutes-seconds]). Attach backup virtual drive in read only mode to avoid future complication. When attached vhd file mounted, make sure OS assigned a drive letter to it (If not, then make a right click on mounted disk and assign non occupied letter for attached drive). After that you can open attached virtual drive from file explorer. When you finished with attached vhd drive don't forget to unmount it from "Disk management"(right click on mounted vhd and select "Detach VHD").

But you can do the same in convenient "official way" via "Backup and Restore" if you choose to restore particular files. It has more advantage since you can choose particular date you want to restore in an "easy way". Here is how to do it with screenshots and below I will cite important steps how to do it:

  • Open the Start menu and type backup in the Search text box and choose "Backup and Restore" from the resulting list.
  • Click the "Restore My Files" button
  • In the "Restore Files" dialog box, locate the files or folders you intend to restore then click "Next".
  • There are three ways to find your files: Search, Browse for Files, Browse for Folders. Choose appropriate action depend on your needs. You may choose a different date link (snapshot) if you can't find your files in particularity chosen snapshot.
  • Choose the location to which you want the files restored. You may want to overwrite files in original location(you will be asked what to do with current files in case files with same name already exist) or save restored files somewhere else.
  • Click the link to View Restored Files then select "Finish" to close restore application.
  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Jan 25 '17 at 11:46
  • Agree, even popular sites sometimes disappeared. I edited my post to address it. – Alex Jan 25 '17 at 17:57
  • + 1 Much better. Thx. – DavidPostill Jan 25 '17 at 17:59

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