I tried to create a backup on my external hard drive, but unfortunately that got interrupted. Before I ran the backup program, the external hard drive had 860 GB free. Now, it says it has 660 GB free. The 200 GB must be the backup files created during the interrupted session, but I can't find the files anywhere, and the Backup and Restore page of control panel doesn't believe there are any backup files on the hard drive. How can I find and delete it to free up 200 GB?


open the external drive in windows explorer--change the folder view to show 'hidden files'--look for file that's about 200GB

  • Tried it, but there are no new files or folders about that size. – user477049 Aug 2 '15 at 19:56
  • plug in external drive--see if recycle bin has content--if so--empty recycle bin – tman50 Aug 2 '15 at 21:17
  • The Recycle Bin is empty. – user477049 Aug 2 '15 at 21:23

My computer crashed during a backup

The temperature of my room caused it to overheat and crash

Run a Disk Check:

  1. Right click the Start Windows icon.

  2. In the shortcut menu, click Open Windows Explorer.

  3. In the navigation pane, click Computer so that your drives appear in the right pane.

  4. Right-click the drive that you want to check.

  5. Click Properties.

  6. Click the Tools tab.

  7. Click the Check now button.

  8. In the Check Disk window, select the Automatically fix file system errors check box.


If you want to perform a detailed test of the hard drive, you can select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box. You should do that in the justified suspicion of existing hardware error in any case. But please note that the operation can then take a long time. For a first routine check, we recommend that you do not select this option.

  1. Click Start.

  2. If the drive that you want to check is currently in use and it is your system drive, you will see a dialog box with a warning message. In this case, click Schedule disk check.

  3. Exit all open programs, and then restart your computer. The checking will start automatically before next Windows startup and display the results when completed.

  4. If you are not checking the system drive, you do not have to turn off the computer. However, the selected drive may also be in use. In this case, you receive a message. After you have saved all files and close all open programs, click Force a dismount.

  5. The checking starts immediately. After it is completed, the results will be displayed.

I can't find the backup files anywhere

You need to enable the viewing of hidden and protected system files:

  • Go to Explorer > "Tools" > "Folder options" > "View"

  • Select "Show hidden files, folders, and drives"

  • Untick "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"

    enter image description here

  • Browse your backup drive:

    enter image description here

Windows 7’s backup tool hides its backup sets from casual view (and casual access) via a special permission privacy attribute. This attribute keeps standard file-management tools — such as Windows Explorer — from easily seeing or altering what’s inside the backups.

Here’s an example. Figure 1 shows the Properties box for a Win7 backup folder on a test PC named “NV4K.” As you can see, Windows Explorer can’t see inside the backup folder and reports it as zero length, zero files, zero folders.

enter image description here

Source Holy …! My Win7 backup folders are empty!

  • I have enabled the viewing of protected and hidden files. However, the only new folder/file to appear on my hard drive is $RECYCLE.BIN. There is nothing that seems like a backup file/folder, or anything else that was newly created. – user477049 Aug 2 '15 at 20:03
  • @user477049 Are you logged on as an Adminstrator? – DavidPostill Aug 2 '15 at 20:12
  • Yes, I am logged onto an account with Administrator privileges. – user477049 Aug 2 '15 at 20:16
  • How did it get interrupted? Did you click "Stop Backup"? Or did something else happen? – DavidPostill Aug 2 '15 at 20:17
  • The temperature of my room caused it to overheat and crash. – user477049 Aug 2 '15 at 20:19

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