How can I recover a Vista Backup using XP?

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August 20, 2009 at 17:31:15
Specs: Windows XP
I have an Acer Aspire laptop that came with Vista preinstalled. Due to hardware & software incapatibility issues (various devices not working properly or not working at all), I opted to downgrade to XP. Before I did this I used the built-in Vista backup utility to backup my software files, programs etc. In order to install XP (which wasn't there before), I had to reformat the hard drive. Now that I have XP installed, everything seems to work great with no problems or issues. Except for one: I cannot access any of the backed-up files. I read on another forum that Vista backup files are zipped files.

Since they are zipped - compressed files, could I use WinZip to recover those backup files? How can I recover the backup files done in Vista using XP?

I am considering finding anyone with Vista to allow me to do a backup recovery with their Vista machine, and then use another brand of backup software that is compatible with Vista & XP, just so I can then get those files into my XP machine.

Could there possibly be another simpler solution?

I am also wondering if I could find a cross-platform solution using Linux to read and recover the Vista backup files?

Thanks in advance.

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August 20, 2009 at 23:04:08
So let me get this straight: you installed Vista, didn't like it, used a certain program or special feature of the OS to backup files as .zip archives and then you installed Windows XP. You want to decompress these .zip archives so that you can use them for XP. Unless you have used some special software that has somehow made a .zip file more difficult than normal to open you should be able to use Windows XP's default archive manager to decompress them.

You could also boot a Linux distribution and do the same. I know for a fact that the latest versions of Ubuntu support .zip archives. In fact, I would be surprised if most things did not support them as they are somewhat old and don't have very good compression. If you really want to save space on backup data I would say try .rar, .bz2 or .7z archives. Rar has pretty good compression, bzip2 has good enough compression for my purposes (haven't seen a comparison between bzip2 and others) and as far as I know, the 7z archives that 7-zip creates have the best compression.

If you have any trouble opening the archive for some reason I recommend trying the 7-zip archive manager I mentioned just a line ago (known as p7zip on Ubuntu, would assume the name is the same on other distributions).

If I can be of any more help please let me know.

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August 21, 2009 at 02:58:40
Thanks sgtmattbaker for the reply. To answer your reply: No I did NOT install Vista. It came pre-installed on the laptop. I have NO Vista install discs. I read on another forum that the Vista backup is actually zipped files. The problem here is that even if I can access the zipped files with 7-zip, will the program put the files into their original file folders according to how Vista operates, and if so, will XP be able to read those files? NO, XP BACKUP DOES NOT READ OR RECOGNIZE THE VISTA BACKUP. Ergo, Vista is NOT backwards compatible.

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August 21, 2009 at 03:19:32
And here's another thing about the Vista backup - it did NOT save the various file folders along with the files according to whatever program they are associated to, BUT instead created new file folders with names such as "folder 1, folder 2, folder 3" etc. Some of these file folders are 5, 6, 7 sub folders deep. The entire Vista backup just doesn't make any damn sense.

I haven't looked at the entire Vista backup because there are literally 10,000 files in it. (well, it seems like it.)

I'm beginning to wonder if there might be some sort of control file in the Vista backup that tells Vista how to unzip those files.

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