Problems with the Vista Backup and Restore Center program


Robert Miles

I've noticed a few problems with the Backup and Restore Center program that
comes as part of Windows Vista.

1. It's found BOTH under Accessories -> System Tools and under Maintenance
in the main menu. Only one of these is capable of handling backups large
enough to require formatting at least three DVD+RWs. If the list of
previous backups is currently empty (for example, because the main hard
drive was replaced), it forces the use of the one that can't format that
many, no matter which one you try to use.

2. If the list of previous backups on the same computer is currently empty,
it ignores all requests to leave out any class of files on the C: drive, but
appears to pay attention to requests to leave out the entire D: drive.

3. It appears to have no class of files to leave out that will disable
backing up the newsgroups posts managed by Windows Mail (mostly *.nws

4. The version for 32-bit Vista appears to be unable to handle running very
well at the same time as an antivirus program that frequently seizes
exclusive control of just about every file on the hard drive, such as Norton
Internet Security version 2009 or 2010. I suspect, but have not been able
to prove, that most of the resulting problems are because Norton Internet
Security seizes control of the file containing the list of previous backups
on the same computer, and the version of the backup program that comes with
32-bit Vista is unable to try accessing that file again after the first try
fails. I have not seen the resulting problems with the version that comes
with 64-bit Vista, so that version may not have the same problem. I've
identified a possible workaround - tell the antivirus program not to scan
the file containing the list of previous backups at all, but that won't work
unless I can find the full name of the file.

5. The 32-bit version just gave me this error message:

The backup did not complete successfully.

(A solid red bar)

An error occurred. The following information might help you resolve the

The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another
process. (0x80070020)

Note that the error messsage contain no hint about what file it is referring
to, or what other process is using it.

6. If the file listing the previous backups is corrupted, there is no
information on whether it is possible to restore that file from the last
successful backup, and if so, how to identify that file so that the restore
does not automatically wipe out most of the changes made since that backup.

I use Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 with almost all updates EXCEPT the
Windows Live update.

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