Can't restore bkf files from disk


C

CS

I recently did a clean reinstall (windows xp pro sp2) and had saved my files
(favorites, documents, photos, etc.) using the Windows backup utility
(ntbackup). I saved the backup to my hard drive, zipped it, and transferred
the zip to a disk in drive D. After the reinstall of Windows XP Pro, I moved
the zip back to the hard drive, unzipped it (with Winzip) but could not
restore my files. I get the message "The backup file contains unrecognized
data and cannot be used." Googling the problem, I found a some programs to
recover the corrupted files but they cost anywhere from $80 to $150. I can't
afford to pay that!! The most frustrating part is microsoft making the
backup part a breeze (oh sure, just click here and there and pick what you
want to back up -- nothing to it!) and then they leave you high and dry by
NOT telling you you're on your own when it comes to the restoring part. Are
there any free programs out there I can use? I think Microsoft should
provide one!! It seems there are tons of people with the same problem!!

Any ideas???
 
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P

Pegasus [MVP]

CS said:
I recently did a clean reinstall (windows xp pro sp2) and had saved my
files
(favorites, documents, photos, etc.) using the Windows backup utility
(ntbackup). I saved the backup to my hard drive, zipped it, and
transferred
the zip to a disk in drive D. After the reinstall of Windows XP Pro, I
moved
the zip back to the hard drive, unzipped it (with Winzip) but could not
restore my files. I get the message "The backup file contains unrecognized
data and cannot be used." Googling the problem, I found a some programs
to
recover the corrupted files but they cost anywhere from $80 to $150. I
can't
afford to pay that!! The most frustrating part is microsoft making the
backup part a breeze (oh sure, just click here and there and pick what you
want to back up -- nothing to it!) and then they leave you high and dry by
NOT telling you you're on your own when it comes to the restoring part.
Are
there any free programs out there I can use? I think Microsoft should
provide one!! It seems there are tons of people with the same problem!!

Any ideas???

There were several steps involved in creating and manipulating your backup
file:
1. Create it with ntbackup.exe.
2. Zip it with some compression tool.
3. Transfer it to drive D:.
4. Transfer it back from drive D:
5. Unzip it.
6. Restore it.
Mistakes can happen in each and every one of these steps, which is why it is
absolutely essential to check one's ability to restore irreplaceable files
*before* deleting the source data. Blaming ntbackup.exe is perhaps a little
premature - the problem could have happened in any one of the six steps you
performed. Whether your data can be recovered is uncertain but an
examination of your .bkf file might shed some light on the cause of the
problem. Try this process. It will extract the header from your .bkf file,
which you can then attach to your reply for examination.
1. Click Start/Run
2. Type this command:
notepad c:\Extract.vbs
3. Click OK.
4. Allow a new file to be created.
5. Copy and paste the code below into the notepad.
6. Save & close the file.
7. Click Start / Run
8. Type this command:
c:\Extract.vbs
9. Click the OK button.
10. Select your .bkf file when prompted.
11. Click the OK button.
12. Attach the file c:\Test.bin to your response.
13. Report the date, time and size of your .bkf file.
14. Report the date, time and size of your .zip file.

Note also that backing up your files before re-installing Windows was a good
idea but fell well short of standard data processing practice. If important
data is stored on a PC then this data must be backed up to an external
medium at regular intervals, e.g. weekly. Not doing this is asking for
trouble. A 2.5" disk in an external USB case is a low-cost but highly
effective backup medium.

sTest = "c:\Test.bin"
sFSO = "Scripting.FileSystemObject"
sDialog = "UserAccounts.CommonDialog"
Set oFSO = CreateObject(sFSO)
Set oDialog = CreateObject(sDialog)
oDialog.Filter = "All Files|*.bkf"
oDialog.InitialDir = "c:\"
If oDialog.ShowOpen <> 0 _
Then sName = oDialog.FileName _
Else WScript.Quit
Set oFile = oFSO.OpenTextFile(sName)
sData = oFile.Read(10000)
oFile.Close
Set oFile = oFSO.CreateTextFile(sTest, True)
oFile.Write sData
oFile.Close
MsgBox "10,000 bytes of data written to " & sTest, 0
 
C

CS

The 6 steps you listed are exactly what I did. I saved it to disk and also
on a flash drive, neither of which works on the restore utility.

Here is the vbs document. The date time and size of the bkf file is
7/25/09; 11:45 am; 350,040 KB. For the zip file it's 7/25/09; 12:05 pm;
244,589.

However, there is another issue: the above files created on 7/25 was my
second attempt to restore. The first attempt was on 7/17 and the files are
considerably larger - 570 MB on the zip and 88659 KB (584,433 (packed) on the
bkf (why was the zip so much larger than the bkf?). When I tried to create a
vbs file for this first attempt, it would not find the bkf file, yet it shows
up on drive c: in windows explorer. What is the reason for that?
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

I don't quite follow your description of restoration attempts. Do you
perhaps mean "back-up" when you say "restore"?

Perhaps you cannot find your .bkf file because it is hidden. When prompted
then you can enter its name and location manually, e.g. like so:

"c:\documents and settings\CarlS\Desktop\SomeFile.bks"
 
C

CS

No. I mean I tried on two separate occassions to open the same backup file
-- I only did one backup and that was on 7/17.

As it stands now, there is a file folder on my c: drive created 7/17 called
"Backup", within that folder there is another file folder called "Backup",
within that folder is the bkf file, but when I try to open it, I get the
following errors:

Some data in your zip file is damaged - crc check failed;
unable to extract - the size of the extracted file (909971058) does not
match the compressed size (909986816) recorded in the zip file.

There is another file folder under My Documents that I created on the 25th
called "Extracted from Backup". Within that folder is another file folder
called "Backup". Within that file folder is the bkf file that I sent you.
It apparently unzipped successfully, but when I try to open it with the
Windows Backup Utility, it
gives me the following error: The backup file contains unrecognized data
and cannot be used

I was working under a different user name each time I attempted to open the
files, does that make a difference? both users are in the administrator
group. As a matter of fact, the user name I was working under when I
performed the backup (prior to the clean install) doesn't even exist anymore
because when I reinstalled windows, I did not create a user with that name.
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

Sorry, so far I have not seen any file attached to your responses. Did you
check your posted responses after sending them? Can you see any attachments?
If you can't then you could send them by EMail to pegasus_fnlATyahooDOTcom.

From your current reply I gather that the problem may not so much lie with
your .bkf file but with your .zip file. If your .zip file is damaged then it
will not restore a readable .bkf file.

I am suspicious about your phrase "It apparently unzipped successfully". You
need to approach this issue in a systematic manner so that there is no doubt
about what you're doing. There is no room for words such as "apparently" in
this process. I recommend you do this:
1. Create the folder c:\Restore.
2. Copy the .zip file to c:\Restore.
3. Unzip it.
4. Report the result of the unzip action.
5. Where did the unzipped .bkf file go?
6. If it did not go into c:\Restore, move it there.
7. Try to open the file c:\Restore\xxx.bkf with ntbackup.
8. If unsuccessful, run my .vbs program so that you can
send me the header block of this .bkf file.
 
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P

Pegasus [MVP]

philo said:
Very bad idea.

MS backup has a number of well documented issues.
Best to simply just copy your data directly to a USB stick
or burn it directly to cd's/dvd's

While ntbackup can be difficult to use, I am not aware of any particular
issues, well documented or otherwise. Care to quote some authoritative
sources?
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

philo said:
LOL good point.

For starters read the OP's post.

I have certainly seen dozens of posts on various Usenet groups where
others have been unable to restore their backups.

Of course one of the biggest problems over the years is simply that MS
seems to change their backup algorithm every time they come up with a new
OS...so for that reason alone...I always recommend against using the
utility

Had I had a magic answer to help the OP I would have stated it...
but my post was made mainly just to prevent the OP from making a similar
mistake in the future.

All I can add it that no matter what backup strategy is used...
the backup *must* be confirmed good, prior to erasing the original data

Your point about confirming the quality of a backup is well made - I made it
too in my response.

In my book, "dozens of posts on various Usenet groups" falls well short of
"well documentend issues". Quantity does not make Quality. I would say that
this is more a question of your personal preferences and hear-say. Take the
current thread - I have a strong suspicion that the problem is caused by
user error, e.g. by zipping up his .bkf file twice, mixing files or pkzip
causing an error.

I am aware that there are incompatibilities between backups issued for
different versions of Windows. However, this is obviously not an issue for
the OP. Other than this, ntbackup is solid and reliable. Its functionality
leaves a lot to be desired but this is another story.
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

I had a look at the file header that you sent to my Yahoo mailbox. It was
created by ntbackup.exe without any doubt. Whether ntbackup will open the
whole file I cannot tell because I have only a small fragment.

What is the result of Steps 1 to 8 I posted in my previous reply?
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

philo said:
Pegasus [MVP] wrote:
As to the wisdom of using the utility...
I did give a quick Google search and found a few million hits when I was
looking for documented cases of NT backup problems...
or course there are tons of redundancies...but enough evidence that the
utility has certainly give many other people problems.

Evidence? Well documented issues? So far you haven't produced a single one.
About the few million hits: They say in Australia: Eat sh.. - ten billion
flies can't be wrong. And they have the flies to support their
recommendation!
 
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C

CS

I'm sorry -- I haven't had a chance to work on this today, but please bear
with me. It's just been an extremely trying day that began with a visit to
the doctor's office and I haven't had the time nor patience to work on this.
I will try again tomorrow afternoon. I appreciate your help, and would
really like to get at least part of the files back if that's at all possible.
thanks.
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

No problem - take your time. Keep in mind, however, that your chances of
success are not particularly good. If your .bkf file is damaged and if it's
the only .bkf file that you can successfully extract from your .zip files
then the only thing that may help you is a .bkf repair tool - if at all.
Some of them have a demo mode that you should show you if it works before
you have to purchase a licence.
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

philo said:
I am confident you know how to use Google.

You are now rambling and have drifted off subject.
None of this bickering is doing the OP any good.
At one time you posted in a professional manner and I suggest you keep it
that way.

If you wish to start an argument, you'll have to look elsewhere.

You call it diatribe, I call it peer review. When I'm wrong (and it happens
frequently) then I accept and appreciate the comments made by my peers,
provided that they are based on solid facts. You could claim that it is well
documented that the earth is flat, and that Google supports your claim with
a few million hits [it does!]. If this is the way you use Google, so be it.
 
P

Pegasus [MVP]

philo said:
Pegasus said:
philo said:
Pegasus [MVP] wrote:
Pegasus [MVP] wrote:

I am confident you know how to use Google.

You are now rambling and have drifted off subject.
None of this bickering is doing the OP any good.
At one time you posted in a professional manner and I suggest you keep
it that way.

If you wish to start an argument, you'll have to look elsewhere.

You call it diatribe, I call it peer review. When I'm wrong (and it
happens frequently) then I accept and appreciate the comments made by my
peers, provided that they are based on solid facts. You could claim that
it is well documented that the earth is flat, and that Google supports
your claim with a few million hits [it does!]. If this is the way you use
Google, so be it.


Ok

because you do in fact generally give great advice and have wisely chosen
to keep a cool head...

I guess the least I could do is provide you one link concerning an issue I
had when I used to make tape backups

http://www.backupassist.com/KnowledgeBase/index.php/Main/Travan


and a few links I've just pulled at random

http://free-backup.info/home-data-backup-in-windows-xp.html


http://www.computing.net/answers/security/windows-xp-backup-utility/25955.html



Anyway, there are tons of such out there...and I didn't really have time
to sort through all of it...but I have certainly seen many posts on Usenet
where folks have encountered problems with the MS version of backup.


Anyway, even if the problems can be all traced to user error rather than a
problem with MS backup itself...If users are having a hard time with
it...then that alone (I'd think) would be reason enough not to use it.

Personally I never saw the point of backing up data in any other form
other than how it was originally created...
no matter which compression or archiving utility is used...there's always
a potential for problems in decompression or un-archiving.

The first link you quote deals with tape drivers, not with ntbackup.exe.
The second link discusses well-known ntbackup issues:
- Lack of facilities
- Incompatibility when moving from one version of Windows to another.
The third link is a question about an ntbackup problem, posted by an unknown
person, with no responses shown.

I previously said that IMHO ntbackup is a *basic* tool for backing up files
and that it is robust and reliable. I am happy to change my mind when
confronted by at least one but preferably several authoritative statements
(e.g. from Microsoft or from newsgroup respondents with a solid reputation)
that ntbackup is flakey. Alternatively, if anyone, regardless of his/her
reputation, can post a reproducible test that demonstrates under what
circumstances ntbackup will fail then I will repeat this test and change my
tune accordingly. This, by the way, happened with xcopy.exe: It does have
some serious flaws and they were discussed in newsgroups. AFAIK Microsoft
never acknowledged them but subsequently deprecated the tool.

I strongly agree with your preference for backing up files in their original
form. The less manipulation the better. I would never use compression on an
ntbackup file - it's far too risky.
 
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Pegasus [MVP]

philo said:
Pegasus said:
philo said:
Pegasus [MVP] wrote:
Pegasus [MVP] wrote:
Pegasus [MVP] wrote:
I am confident you know how to use Google.

You are now rambling and have drifted off subject.
None of this bickering is doing the OP any good.
At one time you posted in a professional manner and I suggest you keep
it that way.

If you wish to start an argument, you'll have to look elsewhere.

You call it diatribe, I call it peer review. When I'm wrong (and it
happens frequently) then I accept and appreciate the comments made by
my peers, provided that they are based on solid facts. You could claim
that it is well documented that the earth is flat, and that Google
supports your claim with a few million hits [it does!]. If this is the
way you use Google, so be it.

Ok

because you do in fact generally give great advice and have wisely
chosen to keep a cool head...

I guess the least I could do is provide you one link concerning an issue
I had when I used to make tape backups

http://www.backupassist.com/KnowledgeBase/index.php/Main/Travan


and a few links I've just pulled at random

http://free-backup.info/home-data-backup-in-windows-xp.html


http://www.computing.net/answers/security/windows-xp-backup-utility/25955.html



Anyway, there are tons of such out there...and I didn't really have time
to sort through all of it...but I have certainly seen many posts on
Usenet where folks have encountered problems with the MS version of
backup.


Anyway, even if the problems can be all traced to user error rather than
a problem with MS backup itself...If users are having a hard time with
it...then that alone (I'd think) would be reason enough not to use it.

Personally I never saw the point of backing up data in any other form
other than how it was originally created...
no matter which compression or archiving utility is used...there's
always a potential for problems in decompression or un-archiving.

The first link you quote deals with tape drivers, not with ntbackup.exe.
The second link discusses well-known ntbackup issues:
- Lack of facilities
- Incompatibility when moving from one version of Windows to another.
The third link is a question about an ntbackup problem, posted by an
unknown person, with no responses shown.

I previously said that IMHO ntbackup is a *basic* tool for backing up
files and that it is robust and reliable. I am happy to change my mind
when confronted by at least one but preferably several authoritative
statements (e.g. from Microsoft or from newsgroup respondents with a
solid reputation) that ntbackup is flakey. Alternatively, if anyone,
regardless of his/her reputation, can post a reproducible test that
demonstrates under what circumstances ntbackup will fail then I will
repeat this test and change my tune accordingly. This, by the way,
happened with xcopy.exe: It does have some serious flaws and they were
discussed in newsgroups. AFAIK Microsoft never acknowledged them but
subsequently deprecated the tool.

I strongly agree with your preference for backing up files in their
original form. The less manipulation the better. I would never use
compression on an ntbackup file - it's far too risky.


Very well...

I can't really see anything you've said is something I can argue with...
maybe I exaggerated a bit...I've been know to do that <G>


I will admit to being prejudiced toward MS backup...

I think it goes back to the day I tried to restore a backup made on MSDOS
6.21 only to find that it was unusable on MSDOS 6.22

sheesh did that get me steamed...how different could 6.21 be from 6.22 I
thought?

Of course I found out later that the *only* difference was the backup
utility

(could be wrong about the exact dos versions in question though)

Glad to see that we found some common ground. Now if only the OP's problem
was as easy to solve . . .
 
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